Zimbabwe cash crisis: 3 foreigners held for illegal currency deals

2017-10-05 09:08


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Harare - Police in Zimbabwe have arrested three Chinese men and at least 16 locals for illegal currency deals.

The arrests come a week after President Robert Mugabe’s government tightened rules to impose heavy jail sentences or fines on offenders and seize their cash.

At least $50 000 in local bond notes was seized from the three Chinese nationals after police were tipped off, the state-run Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) reported on Wednesday.

Police detectives traced the activities of the accused people and on 3 October they saw the first accused loading his vehicle with sealed cardboard boxes, ZBC said in an online report.

The broadcaster said police had followed the vehicle and intercepted it. When searching it, they recovered $50 000 bond notes. 

ALSO READ: 'There is no cash crisis in Zimbabwe,' says Finance minister

In a separate report, the broadcaster said 16 other illegal dealers were arrested on Monday in central Harare “while exchanging various currencies”.

All the suspects have appeared at the Harare Magistrate's Court on charges of contravening the Exchange Control Act.

Zimbabwe’s banks are critically short of cash - both local bond notes and US dollars. Many retailers are sourcing their foreign currency on the black market to restock their shelves, driving up prices.

Last week, Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa announced that penalties of up to 10 years in jail, and fines of up to three times the amount of money seized could be imposed on illegal dealers.

Read more on:    zimbabwe  |  southern africa

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