RBZ Puts More Restrictions On EcoCash
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has put even more restrictions against the country’s biggest mobile money company EcoCash in an effort to stop illegal foreign currency dealings. The Zimbabwe Dollar has been deteriorating rapidly and the central bank blames EcoCash for the collapse.
The Central Bank’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) has now issued a directive to Steward Bank to restrict the payments into EcoCash mobile money trust accounts (MMT). This means that third parties will not be able to transfer money into an MMT account. The directive came from 0. Chiperesa, the Acting Director-General of the Financial Intelligence Unit and is dated 21 May 2020.
Below is the full directive from the FIU to Steward Bank, which iHarare is publishing in full.
21 May, 2020
Mr. Courage Mashavave
Chief Executive Officer
2nd Floor, 101 Union Avenue Building
Kwame Nkrumah Avenue Harare
Dear Mr. Mashavave
Restriction of payments into Ecocash Mobile Money Trust (MMT) Account
1. We understand Steward Bank holds or manages Mobile Money Trust (MMT) account for Ecocash (Private) Limited.
2. We have noted rampant abuse of the mobile money platforms for purposes of illicit foreign currency dealings and money laundering. We have noted huge daily inflows into the MMT account, without any apparent underlying business rationale.
3. We have directed mobile money service providers to undertake an agent re-licencing and KYC enhancement exercise to ensure that only bonafide entities are allowed to continue transacting on the respective mobile money platforms.
4. Pending completion of such a KYC enhancement and re-licensing exercise by the mobile money service providers, banks shall, with immediate effect, implement the following measures in respect of MMT accounts:
(a) the bank shall not receive or process any payment into the MMT account from a third party, i.e. a person/entity who is not an account-holder with the bank;
(b)a customer of the bank shall only be allowed to pay into the Ecocash MMT account, funds not exceeding ZW$100,000 per month (in line with the agent/bulk payer monthly limits currently in force);
(c) Ecocash shall, from time-to-time, provide the bank with lists and details of its agents who would have undergone the re-licensing exercise, and who shall be allowed to transact at higher limits, as shall be approved by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, acting in consultation with the FIU;
(d)the bank shall exercise enhanced due diligence to satisfy itself as to the purpose of any payment into the MMT account and report any suspicious transactions.
5. The above restrictions shall not apply to Ecocash agents/bulk payers who fall into the following categories, whose transaction limits shall continue to be managed by Ecocash, as per current approved thresholds:
• Banking institutions;
• Bureaux de change;
• Listed companies;
• International Organizations;
• Microfinance institutions; and
• Government and quasi-government institutions.
6. Steward Bank shall provide the FIU with daily returns of all funds deposited into the MMT account.
Acting Director-General, Financial Intelligence Unit
cc: Mr. C. Nyamutowa, Head of Compliance, Steward Bank
cc: Mr. J. Mutepfa, Deputy Director, National Payment Systems, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
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