The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) warned members of the public against illegal forex deals following reports that illegal foreign currency dealers have “invaded” supermarkets and wholesalers.
Forex dealers are reportedly offering higher rates to customers intending to use forex to pay for goods and services in supermarkets and wholesalers.
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This comes after the government gazetted Statutory Instrument 127 of 2021 which, among other things, empowers the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) to penalise traders that price their goods or services above the official exchange rate.
According to Manica Post, illegal forex dealers have been using their debit cards, mobile banking, internet banking and Zipit facilities to pay for goods and services on behalf of customers at higher rates.
Officially, US$1 is worth around $85, but black market dealers are offering anything between $120 and $130 for the same amount.
Manicaland provincial police spokesperson, Inspector Luxson Chananda, said more police officers have been deployed to bring the illegal forex dealers to book. He said:
We have seen an increase in the number of people doing illegal foreign currency transactions on the pavements and in the supermarkets.
We have deployed our officers, both in uniform and plainclothes, to arrest these people and bring them to book.
We urge members of the public to do their transactions in banks and registered bureau de changes.
Some of the people they are dealing with are criminals who will rob them of their hard-earned cash.
What the public must understand is that it takes two or more people to do a transaction and all the parties involved in any illegal money transfer deal will be arrested and charged accordingly.