Five shop managers and shop assistants in Harare city centre were arrested at the end of last week after refusing to accept bond notes, which remain legal tender, and were remanded on bail on Saturday when they were brought to court.
All five were charged with contravening the Bank Use Promotion and Suppression of Money Laundering Act for refusing to accept the proffered legal mode of payment.
The arrests follow the refusal by some in business operators to accept bond notes after fake messages appeared on social media platforms, even though both the Government and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe have declared that the notes remain legal tender.
The five accused traders appeared in different courts before magistrates Mrs Charity Maunga and Mr Sheunesu Matova as a result of three sting operations.
Plaxedes Sango (24) and Debra Mombeyarara (39), appeared before Mrs Maunga and were released on $1 000 bail each, pending their trial on Thursday, since their dockets are now complete.
According to the State, Sango and Mombeyarara, who are employed by Olivemark Investments as shopkeeper and shop manager, were rejecting bond notes on Friday last week.
When detectives assigned to enforcing the law received information that Olivemark Investments was rejecting bond notes, Detective Sergeant Mutambo and his team went to the shop along Leopold Takawira Street, and approached Sango to buy soft drinks.
They handed over $30 to Sango, who then refused to accept the money, saying Olivemark did not trade in bond notes.
Mombeyarara, as the shop manager, intervened and told the detectives to use another currency, not bond notes.
The two were then arrested.
Also before Ms Maunga was Melody Manyika (23), a till operator at Bereka shop in Cameroon Street.
She was arrested on Friday by another team of detectives which offered her bond notes to buy a dish, but she refused to accept them, telling the undercover team that she had been instructed by the shop owner not to accept the notes.
Manyika was granted $1 000 bail with her trial set for Thursday.
Jesca Mafukidze (40) and Dorcas Matsakanure (26) were granted $500 each by Mr Matova and were remanded to Thursday next week for a routine remand.
Taya Investments shop attendant, Matsakanure, was arrested after she rejected $5 bond notes saying she only wanted the ‘new Zimbabwean dollars’.
Her fellow shop attendant, Mafukidze, was arrested for refusing bond notes, not knowing they were being trapped by police.
Mrs Shambadzeni Fungura and Mr Sebastian Mutizirwa prosecuted.