RBZ freezes 4 firms’ accounts
Bank accounts of four private companies under investigation for possible money laundering have been frozen by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s investigations arm, the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), and the companies need the central bank’s authority to withdraw funds although they can make deposits.
In a circular on Tuesday to all banks, the FIU indicated that it had noted some anomalous business conduct by Geribrian t/a Transervet, Powerspeed Investments Pvt Ltd t/a Electrosales, Halsted Brothers Pvt Ltd and Enbee Store.
Some banks have since confirmed receipt of the circular, which bars the four companies from accessing funds from their own accounts as investigations to examine the allegations continue.
Money laundering is the illegal process of concealing the origins of money obtained illicitly by passing it through a complex sequence of banking transfers or commercial transactions.
The directive also instructed banks to alert FIU of any deposits as well as withdrawal attempts by the embargoed and ring-fenced firms.
The Government has lately upped its fight against illegal monetary transactions ranging from currency manipulation and money laundering activities.
In the circular, FIU Director-General Tichafa Chigaba instructed banks to halt any kind of drawings unless instructed by the Financial Intelligence Unit itself.
Listing the four companies, Mr Chigaba said: “The unit has noted unusual activity on the above-mentioned business entity. As we carry out further investigations on possible money laundering relating to the funds, you are directed to freeze the amount with immediate effect and you shall not process any withdrawals or transfers from the accounts, unless with the specific approval of the unit. You should, however, allow deposits or other flows into the account.
“You shall immediately report to the unit any deposit or other inflow into the account as well as any attempted withdrawal or transfer.
“Please acknowledge receipt of this directive in writing, confirming that you have frozen the account and confirming the account balance as at the date of freezing.”
In the recent Monetary Policy Statement, the RBZ said directors of banks must continuously acquaint themselves with their responsibilities with regards to AML-CFT issues as articulated in the AML-CFT Risk-Based Guideline.
According to a survey conducted between 2014 and 2018, the national money laundering threat for Zimbabwe was found to be medium, with major predicate offences to generate proceeds of crime being through financial and non–financial systems like fraud, smuggling, illegal dealings in gold, corruption and tax evasion.
In December 2021, the Insurance and Pensions Commission (IPEC) ordered its members to coordinate with the FIU to identify and assess money laundering and terrorist financing risks that may arise in relation to the introduction of new products and new business practices in the insurance and pensions industry.
Recently a US$30 000 penalty was slapped on a restaurant for violating exchange rate regulations.Herald.