Zimbabwe Information Ministry secretary Nick Mangwana has spoken about the reasons behind the banning of Ecocash and other mobile money companies. Mangwana was speaking soon after the government of Zimbabwe banned Eocash and other mobile money companies.
Mangwana said, “Mobile phone companies like Ecocash operated outside what they are supposed to do. Ecocash, are they a bank? What are they. In many countries where i have lived you open a bank account and you are offered a mobile account for inconvenience. But in Zimbabwe, and in this country only you open an account with a phone company and it becomes an account to transact.”
Under normal circumstances the Reserve Bank regulates mobile money companies, but in this case POTRAZ regulates mobile money companies.
There are transactions that have nothing to do with the RBZ. That is money generation. The money you get in the Ecocash Trust account is much less that the RBZ money. The money in Ecocash wallets is much much more than the money that the RBZ regulates.
So Ecocash is undermining the monetary policy of the country. Opening a bank account is much harder than opening an Ecocash account. The government is regulating mobile money platforms now. We are closing that regulation gap. If you want a to be a bank go and open a bank.”
Read More: What will happen to my Ecocash balance?
The allegations against Econet and other mobile companies have been dragging for a few months and has resulted in Ecocash bosses being charged with money laundering.
According to Tech Unzipped, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe is accusing Ecocash of money creation and their failure to clear reconciliation items in their suspense account, with over $8 billion dollars being unaccounted for. The Reserve bank also accuses Econet of creating money through airtime credit facilities.
Ecocash has since released a statement playing down the government ban. In the statement, Ecocash says only their regulator the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe can announce or communicate the suspension of services to them. Ecocash says they haven’t received communication on the development.