Mobile money operators to close multiple wallets

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The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has directed all mobile money operators to close multiple wallets, allowing one wallet per individual.

This move is suggested to suffocate the rampant illegal foreign currency business in the country.

To this effect, mobile money operators have been directed to close all multiple accounts owned by individuals.

RBZ made the announcement on Friday in its Midterm monetary policy statement , “Following the suspension and freezing of agent and bulk-payer wallets on 27 June 2020, mobile money operators have allowed illegal foreign currency dealers to use multiple individual wallets as a means to bypass the transaction limits and continue with their illicit transactions.”

“Mobile money operators shall, with immediate effect, close all multiple wallets, and allow just one wallet per individual, “ RBZ said.

Following the recent daily and monthly limits pronouncement by the central bank, foreign currency dealers had resorted to multiple accounts to sustain their operations bypass transaction limits.

And this has been aiding continued rise in foreign currency exchange rates.

The transaction limits were influenced by the Financial Intelligence Unit ( FIU) directives to put a cap on transactions on allegations that high amount transactions were being used to fuel the black market.

Agents currently holding value in suspended and frozen wallets shall be allowed to liquidate the funds to their bank accounts, upon the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) having satisfied itself of the legitimacy of the source of funds.

Meanwhile, mobile money agents have been banned. Merchants shall not make payments from their wallets and bulk payments to be approved by regulatory authorities for limited use.

Ecocash tried to reverse the new measures through a court challenge but lost the case.

Mangudya blamed mobile money payment operators for turning a blind eye and actively encouraging the abuse of bulk payment wallets for illegal foreign currency transactions. He also ordered the processing of bulk payments such as payment of salaries and wages to be done through normal banking channels.

RBZ said it will work closely with the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) to consider the findings and recommendations of the forensic report on money laundering, in detail.

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