Zimbabwe’s central bank has frozen bank accounts belonging to the country’s biggest fuel supplier, as well as the largest car dealership, in what is believed to be efforts to stabilise a plunging currency.
Officially, Zimbabwe’s local dollar has lost more than 80% of its value since February - but the black market rates show an even larger decline. Last week, the central bank raised interest rates to 70% in response.
It has now emerged that it has also frozen the bank accounts of a number of large companies, including Sakunda, which controls more than 30% of Zimbabwe’s fuel market, as well as accounts belonging to Croco Motors, one of the country’s biggest car dealerships. Croco is a automotive supplier to government.
In a letter dated August 19, 2019 and seen by Fin24, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe's Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) director Wonder Kapofu ordered banks to stop all withdrawals and transfers from the accounts of Sakunda, Access Finance, Spartan Security, Croco Motors and related companies.
"As we carry out further analysis, you are directed to freeze, with immediate effect, all accounts held in the names of the listed entities until further notice," the order said.
"You shall not process any withdrawals or transfers from the accounts; you should, however, allow deposits or other flows into the accounts. You shall immediately report to the Unit any deposit or other inflow into the accounts as well as any attempted withdrawal or transfer from the accounts. Please acknowledge receipt of this directive in writing, confirming that you have frozen the accounts and confirming the account balance as at the date of freezing."
No reason was given for the directive but market players believe it’s in connection with the plummeting local currency.