By Nyashadzashe Ndoro | Nehanda Politics |
MPs have castigated the government for practicing selective application of the law by arresting cash barons on the streets while leaving bigwig companies like Innscor and Pick n Pay.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) in conjunction with the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) since last month embarked on naming and shaming of illegal money dealers who have been abusing mobile telecommunication services and other social media platforms to promote and facilitate illegal foreign exchange transactions and money laundering activities.
The RBZ alleges that the named companies are behind the skyrocketing of the exchange rate on the black-market which on Wednesday traded at US$1: ZWL 200 on the black-market against the official auction rate which is trading at US$1: ZWL 88.
So far 77 people have been arrested over the issue.
But MPs on Wednesday held a pre-budget seminar in Harare and slammed President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration for arresting small cash barons while leaving bigwigs who are suspiciously connected to top government officials.
Outspoken Norton legislator Temba Mliswa described the situation as “CCC, corruption chete chete) and accused the government of lacking the political will to fight corruption. He asked the government why it was not arresting companies like Pick n Pay whom he accused of getting money from the auction platform but using the black-market rate.
“The issue of corruption. Triple C, CCC. To me it’s corruption chete chete. For as long as we don’t deal with corruption, there is no political will. We are wasting time. These people have been arrested as money changers.
“There is no law in this country that says anyone who goes on a parallel market must be arrested. The big players are known. Go to TM (Pick n Pay). Go to OK, Nandos. Divide the price in RTGS by 88 the auction rate and you will see the parallel market.
“Why are they not arrested? The fuel people who have been given money at auction rate are selling it in USD and we know who they are. The bigwigs are involved.
“We will waste time talking. Corruption has taken over. Sanctions are nothing compared to corruption. So once again there is no political will on the part of the government. There is a selective application of the law.
“They have arrested these money changers but the rate has gone up. What does that say?”
Mliswa accused the government of paying the Chinese in RTGS currency and in return they sold it on the black-market causing the rate to spike.
“The reason is this, all these contractors, all these infrastructure developments that we are seeing. The Chinese are being given RTGS yet they do not want it and they end up changing it at black market because the government does not have the USD to pay them.
“So the government is the chief culprit in inflation because they don’t have the USD and they are borrowing RTGS. The government must arrest itself, not these people,” he said.
Buhera South MP Joseph Chinotimba also accused the government of facilitating corruption by failing to arrest the bigwigs behind the money that is being sold at black-market.
“Chairman ndoona sekuti tirikuoedzera tsvimbo kumakunguwo. This meeting ndafunga kuti dei yanga ine vanhu veRBZ nevekuMinistry of Finance yanga ichanakidza.
“Let me tell you, chairman, we have crooks in this country. The most crooks are the people who go to auction and I wonder why the RBZ doesn’t see it. We give money for example to Blue Ribbon, National Foods but those people if you see their prices, it’s black market.
“US$1 is equivalent to ZWL 200. They are selling their goods at black market. We are arresting people on the roads but leaving the bigwigs.
“The money that teachers are earning is useless. It’s RTGS. The teacher in a rural area, where can he or she go and buy petrol. At the end he or she will go and sell the RTGS at the black-market at the rate of 1: 200 yet he is earning ZWL 20 000,” he said.
Firebrand, Matabeleland North member of parliament, Dr Ruth Labode also asked: “I want you to explain something to me. I know a lot of countries to the north of us. They have a liberal exchange rate. The black-market traders are all over the place but the currency does not run amok. Case study is Nigeria. The rate remains almost around the same space for a long time.” Nehanda Radio