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Ecocash Challenges Reserve Bank Of Zimbabwe’s Suspension

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has suspended and frozen all mobile transactions on EcoCash accounts, including that of NetOne. It decided after transactions that amounted to over $75 million were recorded during the COVID-19 period.

However, EcoCash, one of the affected businesses, has shown that it is not comfortable with the decision of the RBZ (Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe). Thus, it has challenged the RBZ’s action in the High Court to stop the suspension of mobile money agents who are conducting financial transactions. EcoCash wants the High Court to order the RBZ to give complete functionality to businesses affected by the suspension.

Mr. Eddie Chibi, the CEO of EcoCash parent company, Cassava Smartech, argued in his affidavit that his company, EcoCash, currently has 11 million subscribers and is beneficial to people from all areas of the country.

According to Mr. Chibi, and I quote, “Because the legality of the suspension imposed by RBZ is challenged, a delay in handling the issue will result in prejudice. It will happen not only to the applicant but the customers, who are ordinary members of the public.

The CEO, Mr. Chibi, further claimed that EcoCash agents were not heard before the issuance of the directive, in breach of the provisions of the Administrative Justice Act.

The Act states that an administrative authority should always act lawfully, reasonably and in a fair manner that doesn’t violate the rights of those affected by the decision.

However, RBZ believes that subscribers are causing foreign exchange rates to rise. Hence it wants to make sure that all businesses and individuals who have agent lines are bona fide entities. They also have to prove the source of their funds.

The FIU, an agency responsible for tracking financial transactions in Zimbabwe, is requesting mobile operators to enhance their KYC (Know your customer) framework. This comes after the agency figured the weak enforcement of the KYC rule, considering the rising number of suspicious transactions taking place here and there.

EcoCash, in an urgent chamber application tendered at the country’s High Court recently, wants the interdict prohibiting the enforcement of the directives issued by RBZ. The company was represented by Mtetwa and Nyambirai law firm.

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