Chinamasa grilled over cash ‘black market’

Finance and Economic Development  Minister Patrick Chinamasa responds to questions during Parliament’s Question and Answer session in Harare yesterday.— (Picture by Justin Mutenda)

Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa responds to questions during Parliament’s Question and Answer session in Harare yesterday.— (Picture by Justin Mutenda)

Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa was yesterday taken to task by legislators over Government’s inaction on the illegal sale of scarce cash on the black market.

Members of Parliament across the political divide asked the minister why there was no evident effort to prosecute cash dealers whom they claimed acted in cahoots with financial institutions and influential individuals.

The questions were raised in the National Assembly during a question-and-answer session. Shamva South Member of Parliament Cde Joseph Mapiki (Zanu-PF) was the first to ask why cash dealers were not being jailed and fingered members of the Indian and Chinese communities for selling cash at a premium.

Cde Mapiki said EcoCash dealers were also levying charges on desperate customers. Minister Chinamasa said there was no law providing for the arrest and imprisonment of such individuals, but that the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe was empowered to impose penalties under the Banking Act.

“The law to jail people (dealing in cash) is not yet there. What is there are penalties for those found doing that. “We have agreed as Cabinet that a law be put in place. I am not saying cash is not being sold, but I do not know about it because I would not be there when people sell it,” said Minister Chinamasa.

His response was met with howls of disapproval from legislators, particularly when he said he wanted to get more information in respect of EcoCash dealers.

Legislators were riled that Minister Chinamasa appeared to suggest he was not aware of a practice that is rampant in the country. Zvimba West MP Cde Ziyambi Ziyambi (Zanu-PF) said a new law would not solve the problem since financial institutions were the major culprits.

“They sell cash and banks are involved. If you want to travel outside the country they will ask you to deposit your money. Where do they think we would have got it (from)?” said Cde Ziyambi.

Minister Chinamasa said he was getting regular reports from the central bank on such vices. He undertook to issue a ministerial statement next week giving full details on the issue.

This was after he was subjected to a barrage of criticism from legislators on why he was not giving precise responses. The legislators were furious that the minister in some instances said he was not aware of any alleged illegal financial practices.

Glen View North MP Mr Fani Munengami (MDC-T) implored Minister Chinamasa to give detailed responses, including information on a proposed $300 million stand-by liquidity facility and central bank governor Dr John Mangudya’s views on the performance of the bond notes so far, given that he had indicated that he would resign if they failed to achieve intended objectives.

Dr Mangudya introduced the bond notes as part of the multi-currency system in November last year, stating they would be paid out as an incentive to encourage exports and promote formal Diaspora remittances.

Responding to another question, Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Joram Gumbo said engineers were already on the ground in preparation for the commencement of the Beitbridge-Harare highway dualisation.

Harare South MP Cde Shadreck Mashayamombe (Zanu-PF) had asked for an update on the project. Meanwhile, the Public Entities Corporate Governance Bill was tabled before the National Assembly yesterday.

The Bill provides for governance of public entities in compliance with the Constitution, provide a uniform mechanism for regulating the conditions of service of members of public entities and their senior employees.

The Bill was referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee to scrutinise whether it is consistent with the national Constitution.

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  • Moe_Scyslack2

    This is what happens when a country becomes lawless and on autopilot as a result of bad, myopic governance. Now ecocash takes my 30% when I cash out! That’s diabolical and must be stopped today.

  • xyz

    Those who raided the nostro accounts and flooded the market with treasury bills are the people that should go to jail. This government has shown that it is incompetent when it comes to running the economy. What do you expect when a President spends 10 years without meeting business leaders but finds time for Chipanga?

    • Gary WekuZviyambe

      Our president’s core focus is to stay in power, not to run the country

  • Tarubva

    Actually, the Minister and John Mangudya are working in cahoots to mop up foreign currency from the streets. The defensive tone of the Minister towards these cash dealers exposes him; the Minister is the Pope while the Governor is the Bishop of the cash dealers! Where do you think they got the foreign currency to sent a whole clan to New York, complete with in-laws and grandchildren?

    • mpengo

      Chinamasa’s excuse for inaction is that “he does not know about it because he is not there ”

      What kind of excuse is that?

      Does Chihuri need to witness a crime for it to be called a crime?

      Why would he think he should be the one to witness people selling cash for it to be declared to be happening?

      It is in the papers, it has been validated by even the august house, by all members of parliament, across political devices!

      And he says, “I do not know because I have not see it?”

      It is beyond ignorance and an obscene level of arrogance.

      It is simply incompetence!!

      It is being out of touch with reality and impotence

      Maybe he is too old for the job and must retire

      • Mapuure

        You are very right. Its called Westrum’s fallacy of centrality in sense-making but with a new twist.This guy knows what is happening but too too afraid to acknowledge what is in the public domain, lest the fast tracked ‘Dr’ will disown him down through bedroom influence..; how pathetic for a so called Finance Minister.

  • eliah

    Leave Chinamasa alone MPs if you have nothing substantial to discuss take the opportunity to go and update your personal documents for free as announced by Mudede and then register to vote. The current problems have evolved over time and what is required now is just a change of the whole government system and you now need to pin hopes in credible elections next year.

  • Ray Mbada

    A bunch of jokers who find joy in finger-pointing games pretending to be ignorant to their rubbish governance. I don’t think there is anyone clean in that August house because for this rote to succeed it must have been endorsed by your participation and those doing it have received a nod from the same. When things fall apart you always try to hide behind your fingers especially our finance minister who seem to have not been raised well. Why refusing to acknowledge when it’s happening in front of everyone?

    Be serious hausi hu-sabhuku hwaunoti ndehwedzinza but it’s a duty!

  • yowe

    Solution is simple if you do not want to pay 40% for cash GO AND REGISTER TO VOTE!!!

    Chimamasa and John Bond have no solution…bvisai hurumende yese iyi titange patsva nevanhu vari serious

    • eliah

      Thats cool, there are wasting everybody’s time instead should go back to constituency and ensure every eligible voter has been pinned down in Mudede’s books or register, that’s what matters now.
      These ladies and gentlemen in parliament have not changed an iota of a thing in this country save for a few dubious bills which have been debated and sailed through mainly from the majority party.

    • Madara

      yes we vote, and then? the cook the books and say they won again.
      dont remove again Herald. Doesnt matter if you dont think its true.

  • yowe

    Doctor Amai is working hard to spend every last US$ in Zimbabwe

  • masvukupete

    Where are all those Zanoids who always comment on how excellent the Zanu government is.

    These money changers must be agents of regime change. They are stoogies of the west hellbent on tarnishing the immense success of the command agriculture. How can they pretend that there is forex shortages in the country. The applications for forex have all been satisfied for productive purposes and the governor is even allocating some for importing luxury cars and purchasing million rand houses for some students in Joburg.

    These money changers are at it again as they did in leading up to 2008 where our beloved party nearly lost power. These money changers are committing treason of the highest order. They want to cause the 2008 fiasco of rerun of elections and GNU again. Although still under sanctions, we had very high unprecedented economic growth which ended in 2013 together with the GNU when our party had the resounding victory, everyone knows that the GNU was an agreement from the devil. Some regime change agents want to associate that unprecedented economic growth to the GNU the truth of the matter is that it had nothing to with that unity but it was our Zanu members in the GNU who were working extra hard to ensure success. They just slackened after 2013 because there was noone to compete with. Why work hard if there is no competition.

    No matter what anyone ever says or how they may try to justify against the GNU, that was the biggest “losted” opportunity post 1980

    • ivhukuvanhu chete chete

      The lack of ‘balance of payment’ support from the International Financial banks is the harbinger of our economic woes. Zimbabwe economy is operating under a cash economy, i.e., you have to spend what you have earned only. Therefore, increase exports and reduce imports. We do not have the lines of credit as other economies of other nations enjoys, hence the acute shortage of the ‘preferred’ us$ among the basket of currencies and the re-emergency of the black market of currencies.
      Zimbabwe lost over 50 International Financial Institutions since 2000 (when economic sanctions were imposed) who used to give lines of credit, and, presently only AFREXIBANK is at least assisting.
      Our parliamentarians need to holistically tackle the issue of economic sanctions.

      Emotional economics on this fora do not produce solutions, even voting in 2018 will not change anything, unless you increase exports and render the black market money changers useless.

      • succuba

        Zimbabwe lost over 50 International Financial Institutions since 2000

        Why… please explain here…

        Your propensity to deceive is embarrassing chete chete…

  • Gidza waGidza

    Ko where is Themba Mliswa question to Chinamasa on where the first family is getting forex to buy houses in limos. Selective reporting by the Herald. Tipeiwo maserious.

  • Pastor Farie

    I remember 2006 so vividly, I can smell 2008.

  • Dube

    Echocash dealers a blatantly charging $1 for every $10. Its an open secret now. I sent $195 dollars to buy materials and my recipient had $19.50 taken in shurugwi. ECocash are aware of this and I have raised this on some occassions. I reported a case and now my mother in law cannot find cash in Glendale. The dealer tounts her and says you thought you were clever shows her the money and tells her “I am not giving it to you”. She is 80 years old. This is what our people have turned to day light robbers. Money changers and reaping where they did not saw and the poor of our nation. The govt has to come to the aid of the besieged vulnerable people who are relying on remittances from relatives. Scandalous.

  • i am zimbabwean

    TENDAI BITI??? Careful what u wish for… i guess you r one of those people who believe that he introduced the usd, when in fact it was introduced by Chinamasa during his reign as acting Finance minister 2 wks before the GNU on the 29th of Jan 2009.
    i do not support, neither do i enjoy or benefit from the state of the economy, but Tendai Biti definately is an answer but definately not the correct one. he is one of those ministers of the gnu who did nothing for our economy only kuvhara poto neChingwa…Biti did nothing different from what others are doing now

    careful what u wish 4.

  • Bert

    We heading back to total chaos, and zanupf know there is nothing we can do.. we are being colonized by our own kind

  • go now clowns

    mangudya an chinaamasa and the rest of there dumnb clowns must go now! both resign! now!

  • cant hide 4ever

    they will be found and made to pay, limb for limb and everything else even if it takes 50 years from now. ask the Germans who get picked up for ww2 crimes.

  • suckitudidix

    the law should be that they should be able to count to at least 10 , and they should understand simple maths. but eish when i see them on tv they really act dumb! maybe its not acting? who knows?

  • Shahid

    Hi i was reading yr column yesterday about the black market and noticed that you wrote about a MP joseph makipi saying indians and chinese people are fueling the black market.. this is totally outrageous. If you would kindly take a drive to roadport and eastgate you will see the reality of the matter that is it the ordinary black zimbabweans doing the rating . What the minister had done was just shifting the blame . Having the bond note in reality is just a fancy name for the new bearer cbeques and the government does not want to announce that the bond notes (bearer cheques) are now the legal currency of the country. Pls stop shifting the blame and take responsibility for your actions is what i want to say to the mp

  • Ractic

    I’m a civil servants and what am I working for? You can not find cash in banks but in the streets on black market. Bank charges are high when you transfer money to your ecocash. Ecocash agents are charging 30 – 35%for you to get cash at the end I will get half of my salary so what am I working for. Mr Honorable Minister and the Governor please take urgent action to address this issue before we end up being charged an extra money more than 35%.