By Vanessa Mhizha
The Reserve Bank Zimbabwe (RBZ)’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) ordered banks across the country to freeze the accounts of some named entities as authorities at Munhumutapa Building begin to implement recommendations by the International Monetary Fund to adhere to fiscal discipline and have the Staff Monitoring Programme back on track.
Last week, the FIU recommended that the RBZ freezes the accounts of Kuda Tagwirei’s Sakunda Holdings, Access Finance, Spartan Security and Croco Motors, amid reports of money laundering.
Another batch comprising of Bill Height Investments Private Limited, Landela Investments, Rimosa Trading (Pvt) Ltd, Fossil Agro (Pvt) Ltd and Traverze Travel (Pvt) Ltd also came under the FIU hammer after their accounts were frozen on Wednesday.
Insiders say three accounts namely, Landela Investments, Rimosa Trading (Pvt) Ltd and Fossil Agro (Pvt) Ltd, all belong to Tagwirei.
The IMF has come with a damning report on Zimbabwe’s Command Agriculture programme which the President Emmerson Mnangagwa-led government has asked Tagwirei to facilitate.
The FIU bears the primary responsibility of ensuring Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing Terrorism (AML/CFT) compliance, but works in close co-operation with supervisory/regulatory bodies of various designated reporting institutions to ensure that the regulated entities comply with their AML/CFT obligations.
The unit also works with relevant stakeholders in ensuring the investigation, prosecution, conviction of criminal offenders, and confiscation of recovered assets or funds.
Of particular concern to the IMF is Tagwirei’s involvement in Command Agriculture, where after his facilitatory role buying agricultural inputs, he would later rake in billions of Zimdollars from just a few millions invested.
Just recently and using such profits obtained from Command Agriculture, Tagwirei is said to have invaded the illegal forex market, where he would have mopped up almost all of money and in the process accounting for growth in reserve money.
Reserve money is the total amount of money in a country and currently it stands at 80%, against an IMF recommended rate of 50%, making Zimbabwe vulnerable to excessive money-printing.
Meanwhile, the FIU has dismissed as unfounded messages circulating on social media claiming that the already frozen accounts have been unfrozen.
It has clarified to the public and other stakeholders that the accounts would remain frozen until otherwise advised. Zim Morning Post