RBZ Sued By EcoCash
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has been sued by mobile money giant EcoCash over its directive to freeze more than 100 accounts linked to mobile money agents. The central bank’s Financial Intelligence Unit alleged that some of these accounts were being used by illegal forex dealers to participate in the illegal buying and selling of foreign currency.
Acting Director-General of the Financial Intelligence Unit Oliver Chiperesa ordered all the banks to freeze, with immediate effect, all Ecocash and OneMoney agents suspected of involvement in money laundering.
However, EcoCash which accounts for more than 90 percent of all mobile money transactions in Zimbabwe, was aggrieved by the directive. The mobile money company is arguing that the directive to suspend the accounts of all the agents who trade above ZWL$100 000 a month is “illegal and irrational.”
EcoCash has since filed an urgent application at the High Court seeking to have the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s directive suspended before it can cause ‘irreparable harm’ to EcoCash and ‘innocent members of the public.’
Part of the founding affidavit of Eddie Chibi, the Chief Executive Officer of Cassava SmarTech Zimbabwe, the holding company of EcoCash reads,
The present application is for temporary relief in the following orders:
A temporary interdict to suspend the enforcement of the directive issued by the Respondent titled “SUSPENSION AND RE-REGISTRATION OF ALL ECOCASH AGENT ACCOUNTS WITH TRANSACTION LIMITS OF ABOVE ZW$100,000 PER MONTH” ISSUED ON 4 MAY 2020″. A copy of the directive is attached hereto as annexure ECO1.
A temporary order for the authorisation of the Applicant to uplift all the restrictions imposed on the accessibility of the Ecocash system and accounts by its Agents in terms of the directive issued by the Respondent on 4 May 2020 and to restore all functionality to the affected Agents.
On the return date, the Applicant will seek the following orders, namely
A final interdict to stop the enforcement of the directive issued on 4 May
An order declaring that the Respondent does not have authority in terms of section 10 of the National Payment Systems Act [ Chapter 24:23] to make any directives against the management and the participants of a mobile money payment system without affording them the right to be heard and; and
An order that the directive issued on 4 May 2020 be declared null and void and consequently be set aside.
The lawsuit also argues that the directive is too broad and will penalise innocent parties in the hope of catching a few miscreants.
In the certificate of urgency, Ntokozo Sibanda, a legal practitioner at Mawere Sibanda Commercial Lawyers writes
In addition, to the extent that the directive is a dragnet that penalises the innocent Agents and their customers in the hope of catching some unknown and unspecified offenders who have committed some unspecified crimes, it is irrational.
EcoCash is being represented by Nyambirai and Mtetwa Law Firm. At the time of publishing the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe was yet to respond to the lawsuit.
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The post RBZ Sued By EcoCash For ‘Irrational’ Decision To Freeze Accounts Of Suspected Forex Dealers appeared first on iHarare News.