Zimbabwe mobile money agents abolished

By Staff reporter | 23 Aug 2020 at 21:18hrs
GOVERNMENT has with immediate effect abolished mobile money wallet agents as they are no longer serving any legitimate purpose and further tightened regulations to tackle illegal foreign currency dealings among other financial malpractices that have been blamed for sabotaging the economy.

The mobile money agent system had become popular through facilitating cash-in and cash-out services, as well as creating job opportunities, but had recently become notorious for aiding illegal foreign currency deals and manipulation of the exchange rate.

Despite the suspension and freezing of agent and bulk-payer wallets on 27 June, 2020, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Governor, Dr John Mangudya, said the monetary authority has noted with concern that mobile money operators continued to allow illegal foreign currency dealers to use multiple individual wallets as a means to by-pass the transaction limits and continue with their illicit transactions.

This has prompted the monetary authority to craft comprehensive interventions to close the gaps, which include directing all mobile money operators to immediately close all multiple wallets, and allow just one wallet per individual.

Announcing the new measures to address deficiencies in mobile banking in his 2020 Monetary Policy Statement today, Dr Mangudya, said the new regulations were an outcome of a forensic audit carried out by the Bank to assess the integrity, compliance and efficacy of mobile money platforms and transactions in Zimbabwe.

He said the audit has revealed significant weaknesses in the systems of the mobile payment operators, namely Ecocash, OneMoney, Telecash and Mycash.

"Agent wallets are no longer serving any legitimate purpose and were now being used primarily for illegal foreign exchange transactions. Agents' mobile money wallets are, therefore, abolished, with immediate effect," said Dr Mangudya.

He, however, clarified that 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.



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