Zimbabwe: RBZ freezes corporate bank accounts for money laundering

The Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has ordered the freezing of the bank accounts of four companies after detecting money laundering activities.

The entities concerned are: Transerv, Powerspeed Investments, Electrosales, Halsted Brothers Ltd and Enbee Store.

In a statement, the FIU said the decision was made after seeing unusual activity indicating money laundering schemes.

“While we carry out further investigations into possible money laundering related to the funds, you are requested to freeze the account with immediate effect and you will not process any withdrawals or transfers from the accounts except with the specific approval of the ‘unit,’ said the unit.

The FIU, however, authorized deposits and other flows into the account but ordered correspondent banks to immediately report to the unit any deposits and other inflows into the account as well as any attempted withdrawals or transfers from the account.

“Please acknowledge receipt of this directive in writing confirming that you have frozen the account and confirming the account balance as of the date of the freeze,” the FIU said.

The central bank is overworked to curb market indiscipline that has seen companies take advantage of lax regulations to profit while manipulating exchange rates to their advantage.

Last week, a Chinese restaurant, Shangri-La, was fined US$30,000 for setting prices well in advance of official exchange rates.

Despite generating huge profits from such abusive practices, Zimbabwean companies remain reluctant to pay corresponding wages and submit their dues taxable accordingly.