RBZ clears Ecobank of money laundering allegations

Harare – The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has cleared Ecobank Zimbabwe Limited of money laundering accusations against the bank following the circulation of a picture of $15 000 new $5 and $2 notes which the bank allegedly injected into the parallel market.

The development caused an uproar coming at a time the central bank has promised to tighten cash leakages to buttress parallel market activities and make the introduction of more cash into the economy effective.

Zimbabwe has been facing serious cash shortages over the years evidenced by long queues at banks, while creating an avenue for trading of cash at high premiums.

Through the introduction of the new notes and coins, RBZ aims to improve the amount of cash in total money supply (ZWL$19 billion according to RBZ Governor, Mangudya) from 4% to between 10% – 15% which is in line with regional and global standards.

In response to allegations raised against Ecobank and almost a similar case involving CBZ bank, the central bank promised to investigate the matter to ascertain the facts.

In a statement released on Tuesday, Ecobank said the money was legally withdrawn by a customer with intention to pay for milk deliveries from small-scale producers.

“Following the publication of a press release by Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe on pictures of notes circulating on social media, Ecobank Zimbabwe Limited wishes to advise that the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) conducted investigations into alleged diversion of cash to the parallel market,” the bank said.

“The investigations by the FIU have shown that Ecobank complied with the regulatory processes in disbursing the $15, 000 cash in question. This amount was intended for purposes of procuring milk from small-scale producers by a client of the Bank.”

Further investigations according to Ecobank, are now now centered on the client to ascertain if the funds were used for the indicated and intended purposes, and the existence of any criminal activity on the part of the client.

Equity Axis News

Raynold Mhotseka

Raynold Mhotseka is a Journalism and Media Studies student at the University of Zimbabwe. He serves as a news writer at financial research firm, Equity Axis where he is currently on attachment. He can be contacted through the following email links, rayjnr.mhotseka@gmail.com and raynoldm@equityaxis.net.

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