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Posting Foreign Currency Rates On Social Media Can Now Get You Arrested

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Posting Foreign Currency Rates On Social Media Can Now Get You Arrested

In a latest development, the RBZ to look for culprits who update the public on black market rates, this also imposes threat to the illegal money changers as they are directly involved.

In a latest development, the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU has engaged the Zimbabwe Republic Police (RBZ), Banks and mobile phone service providers to identify culprits who create, advertise on or participate (actively or passively) in WhatsApp groups or other platforms for illegal foreign currency trading.

Full Statement:

ACTION AGAINST ILLEGAL FOREIGN CURRENCY TRADING ADVERTS

1. The Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) has been monitoring social media platforms where foreign currency dealers have been advertising and promoting their illegal trade. The FIU is aware of WhatsApp groups that have mushroomed in the country for the spoofs purpose of promoting and facilitating illegal foreign currency trade.

2. The FIU, in collaboration with the police, banks, mobile money / and relevant regulatory agencies, has embarked on an exercise to identify and take action against individuals who create, advertise on or participate (actively or passively) in WhatsApp groups or other platforms for illegal foreign currency trading.

3. The FIU and relevant institutions will take the following immediate actions: • The mobile phone numbers used to join or advertise on the illegal groups will be shared with mobile phone operators and POTRAZ for barring; • Other mobile phone numbers registered in the names of such persons will also be identified and barred; • Any mobile money wallets registered in the names of such persons will be frozen and the persons barred from accessing mobile money services with any operator; • Bank accounts owned by a person so identified will be frozen and the person will be blacklisted and barred from accessing banking services with any bank; and • Identified persons will be investigated and prosecuted for illegally trading in or advertising illegal trading in foreign currency.

4. Members of the public are requested to report to the FIU any person, mobile phone number or bank account that continue to be used to engage in or advertise illegal foreign currency activities, using the following contact details:
FIU mobile and WhatsApp number: 0714039897
Financial Intelligence Unit 15 June 2020

Will This Be Successful?

This is not the first time the government has warned the public of abusing the social media, the army once threatened the public to do the same during the days of the coup, but was that successful? No. Besides its not as easy as it may sound, social platforms such as WhatsApp are protected by encryption which protects messages from third party. This means only those directly involved in a conversation can see the messages.

They can maybe plan on trying to get into some of these groups, but ‘forewarned is forearmed’ sectors may have their own groups created which will only allow members they are sure of not to be of threat or those they actually do business with.

Engaging banks may actually pose serious threat to the illegal dealers as banks can directly monitor transactions. Can the banks now monitor every transaction, or they will actually create a new department for that? Removing illegal forex traders is a move by the government to fight economic saboteurs.

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