RBZ’s Response To Ecocash Opens Can Of Worms

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has filed a notice of opposition to the urgent application for a final interdict made by Ecocash to force the central bank to reverse the ban on some Ecocash Agents.

RBZ had ordered that the suspension of some of Ecocash’ Agents who trade more than $100 000 per day on the basis that they were allegedly participating in illegal buying and selling of foreign currency.

In the notice of opposition, the governor of the RBZ, Dr John Mangudya said that the effect of the rapidly devaluing exchange rate on the Ecocash Platform is destroying the livelihood of the Ecocash users and the economy of Zimbabwe at large.

He also said that it has been discovered that unlike other electronic platforms, Ecocash does not engage in immediate settlement of payments which means that payments can remain outstanding for periods of between three to seven days, thereby unduly disadvantaging the same people Ecocash claims to be protecting. He said:

What the general public does not know is what happens in the interim. The funds that have not been credited to the vendor or the recipient are then available for trading on the Ecocash Platform in the foreign currency market. In effect, the delays allow a certain person, who was the subject matter of an investigation, to buy and sell foreign currency in the intervening period.

The Applicant [EcoCash], through this application shows that it is abdicating its responsibility of ensuring that its system and its identified agents operate in terms of the law. This is a blatant display of arrogance, defiance and impunity.

He also attached a schedule confirming that there are some Ecocash agents who have deficit accounts (caused by drawing more money than the account holds) on their Ecocash accounts in excess of $39 million which is outrageous.

He added that Ecocash on this basis had breached the law thereby forfeiting any rights that it has.

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