Operators Enforced To Interoperate Across Ecocash, One Money, and Telecash.

The government of Zimbabwe through the Minister of Finance and Economic Development has with immediate gazetted Statutory Instrument 80 of 2020 which enforces interoperability across all mobile network operators and money transmission, enforcing mobile money players to share switches, while it also takes over the sole role of authorizing tariffs.

This move simply means one can now send money from Telecash to Ecocash, One Money or vice versa, plus any other operator like sendmetoo, sendmoney etc, a very exciting move to the users but disruptive to the operators.

The reserve bank has also announced that all money transmission providers will only charge below their regulated fees, meaning they now determine ceiling costs with punitive measures against any violations.

The money transmission providers shall be monitored in real time and the reserve bank must be given such access to any licensed operator, though the only access level shall be limited to read only.

While the move will be greatly celebrated by subscribers, it seems it is more motivated by need to control black market foreign currency trading, which have heavily driven the foreign currency rates

The statutory instrument reads:

  1. (1) It shall be mandatory for every money transmission
    provider and mobile banking provider shall be connected to a national payment switch, as shall be directed by written notice by the Reserve Bank from time to time that enables interoperability of payments systems and services.
    (2) For purposes of connecting to the national payment switch
    in terms of subsection (1) every money transmission provider and
    mobile banking provider shall install, deploy or commission such
    infrastructure and connection protocols, credentials and documentation necessary to enable integration with any recognised payment system in terms of the National Payment System Act [Chapter 24:23].
    (3) Every money transmission provider and mobile banking
    provider shall open and maintain a bank account that is designated
    exclusively for mobile banking services.
    (4) Every money transmission provider and mobile banking
    provider shall ensure that no money is transmitted or is retained on
    the payment system without a corresponding correct bank balance.
    (5) Every money transmission provider and mobile banking
    provider must submit periodic returns to the Reserve Bank at intervals
    as shall be determined by the Reserve Bank from time to time, which
    shall include—
    (a) the values and volumes including the cumulative total
    from the beginning of the year to date;
    (b) a reconciliation of the mobile account balances between
    mobile money platform and the core banking system;
    Banking (Money Transmission, Mobile Banking and Mobile Money
    Interoperability) Regulations, 2020
    424
    (c) snapshots of the mobile account balance from the mobile
    money platform and core banking systems;
    (d) all material developments or operational challenges.
    (6) The periodic returns specified in subsection (5) shall be
    kept for a period of 7 years from the day of generation of such returns.
    (7) Every money transmission provider and mobile banking
    provider must provide an audit report on the product after six months
    of operation and annually thereafter.
    (8) Every money transmission provider and mobile banking
    provider should allow the Reserve Bank read-only real time access
    to its payment system.
    (9) Every money transmission provider and mobile banking
    provider must have policies and procedures for sound internal controls
    and risk management practices including data protection and cyber
    security on an ongoing basis.
    (10) Every money transmission providers and mobile money
    banking providers must not accept a transaction request from a
    customer if—
    (a) the customer has not yet registered (where registration
    is required) or has not been authorised or cleared to use
    the service or where authorisation has been withdrawn
    or suspended;
    (b) the transaction amount requested by the customer
    is outside the minimum and maximum amounts for
    transaction which shall be specified from time to time
    by both parties;
    (c) the customer has entered an incorrect Personal Identity
    Number (PIN) or user Identification (where a PIN and/
    or user ID is required) or has not provided the relevant
    authentication required by both parties from time to
    time;
    (d) a customer has been suspended or barred from using
    the service of either party;
    (e) a customer has exceeded daily, monthly or annual limits
    S.I. 80 of 2020
    433
    register, and if recorded by way of annexure or cross-reference, the
    representations must be preserved for a period of at least three years
    from the date when they were made to the Reserve Bank;
    (b) the date of service of every civil penalty order, the name and the
    physical or registered office address of the person upon whom it was
    served, the civil penalty provision in relation to which the defaulter
    was in default, and the date on which the civil penalty order was
    complied with or the penalty thereunder was recovered as the case
    may be.
    (2) A copy of—
    (a) any entry in the civil penalty enforcement register, and of any
    annexure thereto or record cross-referenced therein, authenticated
    by the Reserve Bank as a true copy of the original, shall on its mere
    production in any civil or criminal proceedings by any person, be
    prima facie proof of the contents therein; or
    (b) any civil penalty order that has been served in terms of this Act,
    authenticated by the Reserve Bank as a true copy of the original, shall
    on its mere production in any civil or criminal proceedings by any
    person, be prima facie proof of the service of the order on the date
    stated therein upon the defaulter named therein, and of the contents
    of the order.
    Designated offi cers
  2. (1) Any reference to the Reserve Bank in this Schedule shall be construed
    as a reference to a designated offi cer.
    (2) The Governor of the Reserve Bank shall furnish each designated offi cer
    with a certifi cate signed by or on behalf of the Governor stating that he or she
    has been appointed as an designated offi cer for the purpose of this Schedule.
    (3) A designated offi cer shall, on demand by any person affected by the
    exercise of the powers conferred upon the Reserve Bank under this Schedule,
    exhibit the certifi cate issued to him or her in terms of subsection (2).
    Banking (Money Transmission, Mobile Banking and Mobile Money
    Interoperability) Regulations, 2020
    432
    in question, the Reserve Bank shall not proceed to serve the civil
    penalty order; or
    (c) makes no representations of the kind referred to in paragraph (b the
    Reserve Bank shall proceed to serve the civil penalty order.
    (2) In addition, where it appears to the Reserve Bank from written representations received under subparagraph (1) that there may be a material dispute
    of fact concerning the existence or any salient aspect of the alleged default, the
    Reserve Bank must afford the alleged defaulter an opportunity to be heard by
    making oral representations before the Reserve Bank, for which purpose the
    Reserve Bank shall have the same powers, rights and privileges as are conferred
    upon a commissioner by the Commissions of Inquiry Act [Chapter 10:07],
    other than the power to order a person to be detained in custody, and sections 9
    to 13 and 15 to 19 of that Act shall apply with necessary changes in relation to
    the hearing and determination before the Reserve Bank of the alleged default
    in question, and to any person summoned to give evidence or giving evidence
    before the Registrar.
    (3) Any person who is aggrieved by a civil penalty order made after the
    making of representations in terms of this section may appeal against the order
    to a judge of the High Court, and the judge may make such order as he or she
    thinks fi t:
    Provided that the lodging of the appeal shall not of itself suspend the
    obligation of the defaulter to comply with the civil penalty order.
    Judicial review of civil penalty orders
  3. If the Reserve Bank does not issue a show cause order under paragraph 5
    before issuing and serving a civil penalty order under paragraph 4, the defaulter
    or alleged defaulter may seek review of the Reserve Bank’s action by the High
    Court, but the lodging of the application for review shall not of itself suspend
    the obligation of the defaulter to comply with the civil penalty order.
    Evidentiary provisions in connection with civil penalty orders
  4. (1) For the purposes of this Schedule the Reserve Bank shall keep a civil
    penalty enforcement register wherein shall be recorded—
    (a) the date of service of every show cause notice, the name and the
    physical or registered offi ce address of the person upon whom it was
    served, the civil penalty provision in relation to which the alleged
    defaulter was alleged to be in default, and whether or not the show
    cause notice was followed by the service of a civil penalty order:
    Provided that a record or an adequate summary of any
    representations made in response to a show cause notice shall be
    made by way of an entry or cross-reference in, or annexure to, the
    S.I. 80 of 2020
    425
    for the transaction and other usage on their wallet or
    bank account as the case may be;
    (f) customer activity is suspected to be fraudulent.
    (11) If it comes to the notice of the Reserve Bank that default
    is made in complying with—
    (a) subsection (1), (2), (3),(8) and (9) the Reserve Bank
    may serve a category 4 civil penalty order;
    (b) subsection (4) ,(6), (10)(a),(d),(e) and (f), the Reserve
    Bank may serve a category 1 civil penalty order;
    (c) subsection (5),(7), (10)(b) and (c)the Reserve Bank may
    serve a category 2 civil penalty order;
    upon the defaulting mobile money provider.
    (12) Where a mobile money provider contravenes the
    provisions this section the Reserve Bank may in addition to issuing a
    civil penalty order in terms of subsection (11) ,withdraw the recognition
    of a payment system in terms of section 6 of the National Payment
    Systems Act [Chapter 24: 23].
    (13) Any person who contravenes this section shall be guilty
    of an offence and be liable to a
    fi ne not exceeding level 7 or to
    imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months or to both such
    fi ne and such imprisonment.
    Transactions charges
  5. (1) No money transmission provider or mobile banking
    provider shall levy, amend or review any transaction charges without
    the prior approval of the Reserve Bank.
    (2) If it comes to the notice of the Reserve Bank that default
    is made in complying with subsection (1) the Reserve Bank may serve
    a category 2 civil penalty order upon the defaulting mobile money
    provider.
    Civil penalty orders
  6. The provision of the Second Schedule apply to any
    infringement of these regulations in respect of which it is provided
    that a civil penalty is payable.
    Banking (Money Transmission, Mobile Banking and Mobile Money
    Interoperability) Regulations, 2020
    426
    FIRST SCHEDULE (Section 5)
    FEES
    ZWL $
    Application . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 000
    Annual . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 300 000
    SECOND SCHEDULE (Section 6)
    CIVIL PENALTY ORDERS
    ARRANGEMENT OF PARAGRAPHS
    Section
  7. Interpretation in Schedule.
  8. Power of Reserve Bank to issue civil penalty orders and categories thereof.
  9. Variation of certain penalties and limitation of multiple of penalties.
  10. Service and enforcement of civil penalties and destination of proceeds
    thereof.
  11. Limitation on issuance and enforcement of civil penalty orders.
  12. Additional due process requirements before service of certain civil penalty
    orders.
  13. Judicial review of civil penalty orders.
  14. Evidentiary provisions in connection with civil penalty orders.
  15. Designated offi cers.
    Interpretation in Schedule
  16. In this Schedule, unless the context otherwise requires—
    “citation clause”, in relation to a civil penalty order, is the part of the
    order in which the Reserve Bank names the defaulter and cites the
    provision of this Act in respect of which the default was made or
    is alleged, together with (if necessary) a brief statement of the facts
    constituting the default;
    “designated offi cer” means an employee or the Reserve Bank or other
    person designated and authorised by the Governor of the Reserve
    Bank to undertake duties in connection with the implementation of
    this Schedule;
    “penalty clause”, in relation to a civil penalty order, is the part of the
    order that fi xes the penalty to be paid by the defaulter, and “fi xed
    penalty clause” and “cumulative penalty clause” shall be construed
    accordingly;
    S.I. 80 of 2020
    431
    competent civil jurisdiction, it may, after notice to all interested parties, bring a
    single action in relation to the recovery of those penalties if the orders relating
    to those penalties—
    (a) were all served within the period of twelve months preceding the
    institution of the proceedings; and
    (b) were served—
    (i) on the same mobile money provider; or
    (ii) in relation to the same default or set of defaults, whether committed
    by the same mobile money provider or different mobile money
    providers; or
    (iii) on two or more mobile money providers whose registered offi ces
    are in the same area of jurisdiction of the court before which the
    proceedings are instituted.
    (10) Unless the Reserve Bank has earlier recovered in civil court the
    amount outstanding under a civil penalty order, a court convicting a person of an
    offence against subparagraph (6), may on its own motion or on the application of
    the prosecutor and in addition to any penalty which it may impose give summary
    judgement in favour of the Reserve Bank for the amount of any outstanding civil
    penalty due from the convicted defaulter.
    Limitation on issuance and enforcement of civil penalty orders
  17. (1) No civil penalty order may be issued more than twelve months from
    the date when the infringement or alleged infringement occurred or ceased to
    occur.
    (2) Any amount owing under a civil penalty order is a debt owed to the
    State for the purposes of section 15(b) of the Prescription Act [Chapter 8:11].
    Additional due process requirements before service of certain civil penalty orders
  18. (1) Except in relation to any civil penalty order which the Reserve Bank
    is satisfi ed that it does not involve any substantive dispute of fact, the Reserve
    Bank must notify the alleged defaulter in writing of the Reserve Bank’s intention
    to serve the civil penalty order (which notice shall hereafter be called a “show
    cause notice”) and the Reserve Bank’s reasons for doing so and shall call upon the
    alleged defaulter to show cause within the period specifi ed in the notice (which
    period shall not be less than 48 hours or more than seven days from the date of
    service of the notice) why the civil penalty order should not be served upon him
    or her, and, if the alleged defaulter—
    (a) makes no representations thereto within the notice period, the Reserve
    Bank shall proceed to serve the civil penalty order, or
    (b) makes representations showing that the alleged default in question was
    not wilful or was due to circumstances beyond the alleged defaulter’s
    control or for any other reason specifi ed in the civil penalty provision
    Banking (Money Transmission, Mobile Banking and Mobile Money
    Interoperability) Regulations, 2020
    430
    (4) The Reserve Bank may, in the citation clause of a single civil penalty
    order, cite two or more defaults relating to different provisions of these regulations
    if the defaults in question—
    (a) occurred concurrently or within a period not exceeding six months
    from the fi rst default or defaults to the last default or defaults; or
    (b) arose in connection with the same set of facts.
    (5) Where in these regulations the same acts or omissions are liable to
    both criminal and civil penalty proceedings, the Reserve Bank may serve a civil
    penalty order at any time before the commencement of the criminal proceedings
    in relation to that default, that is to say at any time before—
    (a) summons is issued to the accused person for the prosecution of the
    offence; or
    (b) a statement of the charge is lodged with the clerk of the magistrates
    court before which the accused is to be tried, where the offence is to
    be tried summarily; or
    (c) an indictment has been served upon the accused person, where the
    person is to be tried before the High Court;
    as the case may be, but may not serve any civil penalty order after the
    commencement of the criminal proceedings until after those proceedings are
    concluded (the criminal proceedings are deemed for this purpose to be concluded
    even if they are appealed or taken on review). (For the avoidance of doubt it is
    declared that the acquittal of an alleged defaulter in criminal proceedings does
    not excuse the defaulter from liability for civil penalty proceedings).
    (6) Upon the expiry of the ninety day period within which any civil penalty
    order of any category must be paid, the defaulter shall be guilty of an offence
    and liable to a fi ne not exceeding level 6 or to imprisonment for a period not
    exceeding one year or to both.
    (7) The amount of any civil penalty shall—
    (a) be payable to the Reserve Bank and shall form part of the funds of
    the Reserve Bank; and
    (b) be a debt due to the Reserve Bank and shall be sued for in any
    proceedings in the name of the Reserve Bank in any court of competent
    civil jurisdiction.
    (8) Every offi cer of the mobile money provider mentioned in the civil
    penalty order by name or by offi ce, is deemed to be in default and any one of
    them can, on the basis of joint and several liability, be made by the Reserve Bank
    to pay the civil penalty in the event that mobile money provider does not pay.
    (9) If the Reserve Bank in terms of subparagraph (7)(b) desires to institute
    proceedings to recover the amounts of two or more civil penalties in any court of
    S.I. 80 of 2020
    427
    “remediation clause” in relation to a civil penalty order, is the part of the
    order that stipulates the remedial action to be taken by the defaulter;
    Power of Reserve Bank to issue civil penalty orders and categories thereof
  19. (1) Where default is made in complying with any provision of this Act or
    of regulations or order made under this Act for which a civil penalty is specifi ed
    to be leviable, the Reserve Bank may, in addition to, and without derogating
    from, any criminal or non-criminal penalty that may be imposed by this Act or
    any other law for the conduct constituting the default, serve upon the defaulter
    a civil penalty order of the appropriate category specifi ed in subparagraph (2),
    (3), (4), (5) or (6) or any combination of such orders as the provision in question
    may allow.
    (2) A category 1 civil penalty order provides for a combination of a fi xed
    penalty and a cumulative penalty over a period not exceeding ninety days for a
    specifi ed completed and irremediable default (that is to say a default in respect of
    which no remediation is sought by the Reserve Bank or is possible), of which—
    (a) the fi xed penalty shall be the maximum amount specifi ed for level
    seven (or the penalty specifi ed in paragraph 3, as the case may be);
    and
    (b) the cumulative penalty shall be a penalty of the maximum amount
    of level three for each day (beginning on the day after the service
    of a civil penalty order) during which the defaulter fails to pay the
    fi xed penalty under paragraph (a);
    (3) A category 2 civil penalty order provides for a cumulative civil penalty
    for a specifi ed completed but remediable default which—
    (a) must be suspended conditionally upon the defaulter taking the remedial action specifi ed in the civil penalty order immediately (that
    is to say, within twenty-four hours after the civil penalty is served
    on him or her);
    (b) upon the civil penalty becoming operative because of non-compliance with the requested remedial action, shall provide for a penalty
    of the maximum amount of level three for each day, not exceeding
    ninety days, during which the defaulter continues to be in default
    (beginning on the day after the last day on which the defaulter fails
    to take the remedial action).
    (4) A category 3 civil penalty order provides for a combination of a fi xed
    penalty and potentially two cumulative penalties for a specif

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