RBZ directs Steward Bank to limit payments into Ecocash Trust account

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Farai Mabeza

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has ordered Steward Bank to limits payments into the Ecocash Mobile Money Trust accounts from third parties to a maximum of Z$100 000 per month.

This is in line with the Central Bank’s latest attempt to clampdown on illicit foreign currency trading.

Steward Bank and CBZ hold Ecocash Private Ltd’s Mobile Money Trust account.

In the directive written to Steward Bank’s chief executive, Courage Mashavave, the RBZ’s Financial Intelligence Unit acting director-general Oliver Chiperesa said the Bank had noted huge daily inflows into the MMT accounts without any underlying business rationale.

According to the FIU, the restrictions will remain in place while Ecocash carries out agent relicensing and know-your-customer (KYC) enhancement exercise.

“We have directed mobile money service providers to undertake an agent relicensing and KYC enhancement exercise to ensure that all bona fide entities are allowed to continue transacting on the respective money platforms,” Chiperesa said.

“The bank shall not receive or process any payment into the MMT from a third party, that is, a person/entity who is not an account holder with the bank.”

A Steward Bank customer will only be allowed to pay into the Ecocash MMT account funds not exceeding Z$100 000 per month in line with the agent/bulk payer monthly limits currently in force.

Ecocash was also directed to, periodically, provide the bank with lists and details of its agents who would have undergone the relicensing exercise and who shall be allowed to transact at higher limits as shall be approved by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, acting in consultation with the FIU.

“The bank shall exercise due diligence to satisfy itself as to the purpose of any payment into the MMT account and report any suspicious transactions,” the directive said.

The restrictions will, however, not apply to banking institutions, bureau de change, listed companies, international organisations, microfinance institutions, and government and quasi government institutions.

Steward Bank shall provide the FIU with daily returns of all funds deposited into the MMT account.

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