Last week there was furore on social media after a number of images of what looked like new Zimbabwean dollar currency which had already leaked into the black market made their way on social media.

$15 000 From Ecobank

One such image showed a mand seating in a car with bricks of the new $2 Zimbabwean dollar currency. The withdrawal limit had been set at $300 per week and most members of the public had not even seen the money so naturally, questions rose as to how this person had already acquired so much money.

Money to buy milk

The RBZ’s Financial Intelligence Unit was quick to point the finger at Ecobank, it was probably not hard to trace the serials on the notes which were clearly visible. Ecobank quickly acknowledged they were the source of the cash but said they had done nothing wrong. Now more details have emerged as to how a $15 000 was legitimately made.

Media Statement by Ecobank Zimbabwe Limited

Harare, 19 November 2019 — Following the publication of a press release by Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe on pictures of notes circulating on social media, Ecobank Zimbabwe Limited wishes to advise that the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) conducted investigations into alleged diversion of cash to the parallel market.

The investigations by the FIU have shown that Ecobank complied with the regulatory processes in disbursing the ZW$15, 000 cash in question. This amount was intended for purposes of procuring milk from small-scale producers by a chest of the Bank.

Investigations are now centred on the client to ascertain if the funds were used for the indicated and intended purposes, and the existence of any criminal activity on the part of our client.

Ecobank is committed to consistently adhering to the highest standards of regulatory compliance and governance and will always co-operate fully with the regulatory authorities. We will continue to play our part in providing solutions that contribute to the stability of the economy.

Ecobank’s statement

That seems like a sensible justification, most small scale farmers prefer cash payments besides the government’s 2% tax and bank charges make it expensive to make many small payments.

It might even be possible that this is what that money was ultimately used for! You see even farmers still prefer USD, we see this at Mbare Musika. It is possible that milk farmers are also demanding the greenback and the entity that drew the $15 000 was simply doing a conversation on the black market as the RBZ would certainly not have given said entity foreign currency for domestic transactions.

RBZ clears Ecobank

It also seems from the above statement that the RBZ seems satisfied with Ecobank’s explanation and are now focusing on the client.