THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has directed Steward Bank to add more restrictions to the Ecocash mobile money transfer platform to curb the influx of illegal forex deals on the parallel market.
In a letter written by RBZ’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), its acting director Mr O Chiperesa and directed to the chief executive officer of Stewart Bank Mr Courage Mashavave, Steward bank was ordered to manage its Ecocash inflows and give a daily report of the financial inflows.
“We understand Steward Bank holds or manages Mobile Money Trust (MMT) account for Ecocash (Private) Limited,” Mr Chiperesa.
“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.
“We have directed mobile money service providers to undertake an agent re-licensing and KYC enhancement exercise to ensure that only bona-fide entities are allowed to continue transacting on the respective mobile money platforms. Pending the completion of such a KYC enhancement and re-licensing exercise by the mobile money service providers, the bank shall not receive or process any payment into the MMT account from a third party, that is, a person/ entity who is not an account holder with the bank,”
Mr Chiperesa said customers 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).
“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. 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.
“The restrictions shall not apply to Ecocash agents/ bulk payers who fall under the following categories, whose transaction limits shall continue to be managed by Ecocash as per current approved thresholds; banking institutions, Bureau de changes, listed companies, international organisations, microfinance institutions and Government and quasi-government institutions.”
Mr Chiperesa said Steward Bank shall provide the FIU with daily returns of all funds deposited into the MMT account.