22 illegal money-changers jailed

Tendai Rupapa Senior Court Reporter
THREE Chinese nationals and 19 illegal money-changers have been arrested in Harare since the gazetting of regulations criminalising cash vending, with police recovering $55 000 worth of bond notes, US$1 662 and R6 000. The suspects were also found in possession of 10 000 Tanzanian shillings and 320 Botswana Pula.

Under the regulations gazetted last week through Statutory Instrument (SI) 122A of 2017- Exchange Control (Amendment) Regulations 2017 (No 5), police are now empowered to arrest illegal money-changers and seize whatever currency in their possession. Government has established cash vending as a catalytic agent to arbitrary price hikes and rent-seeking behaviour. Illegal cash traders had turned Eastgate Shopping Mall, Copacabana, Roadport, Market Square and First Street into zones for illicit foreign currency deals.

Following the new regulations, which effectively amended the Exchange Control Regulations of 1996, published in Statutory Instrument 109 of 1996, in particular Section 2 of the principal regulations, the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) has since launched an operation code-named “Dzosai mari”, which has since led to the ongoing arrests.

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Abel Sibanda (21), Faith Muchemwa (28), Lovemore Bangwanyo (20), Shelly Danda (51), Kudzayi Musande (31), Sibongile Nyahanana (40), Joyce Marufu (33), Admire Chikanga (34), Esseline Siziba (49), Trymore Tara (35), Ruth Mutenure (30), Fiona Mapfumo (37), Khan Zeyn (28), Catherine Tekwa, Alec and Tichafa Manangazira, Abel Shambare, Debrick Hwara and Sarah Hanyani initially appeared in court on Tuesday and are still in custody pending bail ruling.

They appeared on separate records before magistrate Ms Nomsa Sabarauta charged with contravening the Exchange Control Act. They are being represented by Messrs Dumisani Mthombeni, Norman Tsarwe, Tawanda Takaendesa, Gwinyai Shumba, Steady Kachere and Liberty Mandivei.

Fang Wei (35), Wu Huanjiu (42) and Wei Wei (30), who are also being implicated in various cash vending activities, were found in possession of $50 000 worth of bond notes, which have also been seized. Fang and Huanjiu are employed at Hanjiu Mineral Development Pvt Ltd as accountant and managing director, while Wei is the operations manager at Planners Stationery.

The trio appeared before the same magistrate yesterday and were remanded in custody to today for bail ruling. The prosecutor Ms Francesca Mukumbiri opposed bail on the basis that there was overwhelming evidence against the gang as they were caught red-handed illegally trading money.

“What they were doing has a negative impact on the economy and if they are convicted, they are likely to face a lengthy prison term, hence this will induce them to abscond,” she said.

On October 3, police detectives got a tip-off that Fang, Wei and Huanjiu were in the business of selling cash at a premium. The detectives went to 136 Seke Road to conduct their investigations and they saw Wei coming from a building with a box which he put in his car and drove off. They followed him and stopped him along Enterprise road before searching his vehicle.

They recovered $50 000 worth of bond notes which were in the box, leading to his arrest. Fang then implicated his alleged accomplices. On October 2, police detectives were assigned to arrest illegal money peddlers in the CBD and during the patrol, the officers proceeded to the intersection of Robert Mugabe and First Street where they saw Siziba conducting illegal transactions.

She was arrested and police allegedly recovered $905 in bond notes, US$231, R450 and P320. The officers proceeded to Copacabana bus terminus where they observed Chikanga taking several people to his parked vehicle on different times and they pounced on him. He was searched and found in possession of $1 800 in bond notes, the court heard. Other money changers were arrested at various spots around town.

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  • Cde Hondo

    22 people with $1500 and one super human goes with $1.5 million to buy a ring. Reminds me of the Animal Farm

  • Moe_Scyslack2

    It won’t change anything.

  • kutototo

    So they were jailed for how many years or !months?

  • fresh

    55000 bond notes nhamo yenyika yabva yapera

    • yowe

      Yes John Bond is celebrating

  • Hombarume

    So its ow illegal to keep the Bond Notes?
    No direction, Until Mugabe goes, you will pass laws and laws.
    Now lets wait for the next gazette…

  • zimbotry

    Remember the Police can seize the money. Where do you think it went?

  • dege

    why would one sale money and not sale cabbages and tomatoes.
    ngavabwatwe polititcs or no politics ngavabatwe

    • Pastor Farie

      Money is also a commodity just like carrots or cows. For as long as a vendor can sell cabbages without a license these money sellers will thrive and their cause is justified. Law by nature shouldn’t be selective. The joke i saw was the amounts that were discussed in the article. the amount of money in the images circulating was far more than that and that money wasnt in a bank. There is a big FISH behind and that the one we want. Dont ever treat symtoms, tsvaga chikonzero chaita musoro uteme and sort it out from there.

  • Anti-Ximex

    Thumps up to good work that has been done so far. A million mile journey started by one step (Chipunu ndicho chinopedza saga reshuga)

    We cant have an economy where intermediators are beneficiaries. A money changer is an intermidiator between my salary and bank. He survives by selling what he has not worked for (briefcase office bodo). In as much as Zim has no jobs, but we cant strain hard workers. Ma money changer ovaka dzimba nekutenga mota, vodadira aswera achifondoka, STOP IT. No matter what you say, money changers BIG NO.

    However this is first step, we kill the source through shrinking the sink (the receiver). If sink can no longer hold water, we close the tap.

    To Authorities, please make sure the police u send will not end up being beneficiaries through corruption. Some of the police officers themselves are not reliable as witnessed with traffic officers, panoda kuchenjererwa, tinogona takupfumisa sector ye porisi

    Lastly, how far with the tracking of mint notes that you promised? If you fail to deliver I tell you, next time you won’t get public obedience. In nut shell, crack on bankers, they seem to be the possible culprits. Vamwewo vanoti maMinister nema legislators mamwewo nerweseri are profiteering thru ku-burner

  • ivhuku kuvanhu chete chete

    I have a million dollar question! What happened to the Stanbic Bank employee who was linked to the $30 000,00 meant for tobacco farmers, but she withdrew it and exchanged it with Bond notes at the black market. The RBZ Governor promised to investigate………..

    This culprit can give the Authorities a trail and lead.
    These little men and women, except the Chinese nationals are the employees or agents of illegal well-connected-Bank employees and their Management.

  • Zimbabwe Dread

    True ,If you have HIV you need ARV`s and not Calamine lotion for the rash.