1036 GMT July 15, 2020
The measures come two days after President Emmerson Mnangagwa warned his government will tackle “malpractices” that he said have undermined his government’s efforts to end an economic crisis, Bloomberg reported.
Inflation in the southern African nation is at 786 percent, its recently revived currency has collapsed and the World Bank estimates the economy will shrink as much as 10 percent this year.
The suspension of monetary transactions by companies including Econet Wireless Ltd. unit Ecocash will “facilitate intrusive investigations, leading to the arrest and prosecution of offenders,” the Ministry of Information said in a statement in the capital, Harare. Other companies affected by the regulations include state-controlled Telecel.
The government is in possession of “impeccable intelligence which constitutes a prima facie case whereby the phone-based mobile money systems of Zimbabwe are conspiring, with the help of the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange, either deliberately or inadvertently, in illicit activities that are sabotaging the economy,” the ministry said.
The measures will remain in place until mobile-money platforms have been “reformed to their original purpose and all the current phantom rates of exchange have converged into a genuine rate of exchange that is determined by market forces under the Foreign Currency Auction system,” it said.
Zimbabwe Stock Exchange Chief Executive Officer Justin Bgoni said he had not been officially informed of the measures and could not comment. Calls to Econet CEO Douglas Mboweni went unanswered, while a spokesperson for Econet declined to comment. Telecel CEO Angeline Vere said she was unaware of the announcement.