RBZ freezes bank accounts of 4 companies over ‘unusual activity’

HARARE – The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) said Wednesday it had frozen the bank accounts of four companies for what it described as “unusual activity” on the accounts.

The companies – Geribrian trading as Transervet, Powerspeed trading as Electrosales, Halsted and Enbee – will not be allowed to withdraw money from their accounts until the apex bank’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) finishes its investigation.

Halsted and Electrosales are hardware companies; Transervet sells motor spares and Enbee sells school uniforms.

In a circular to local banks, the FIU said: “As we carry out further investigations on possible money laundering relating to the funds, you are directed to freeze the accounts with immediate effect and you shall not process any withdrawals or transfers from the accounts, unless with the specific approval of the Unit.

“You should, however, allow deposits or other flows into the account.

“You shall immediately report to the FIU any deposit or other inflow into the account as well as any attempted withdrawal or transfer from the account.”

Zimbabwe reintroduced its local currency in 2019 but it quickly lost value. Many companies which import their products for resale cannot get money from the official foreign currency auction, forcing many to mop up cash from the black market.

The demand for foreign currency has caused black market exchange rates to spike. An American dollar fetches Z$120 on the government’s controlled forex auction, but trades for double that on the black market.

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