Reserve Bank Of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Governor Dr John Panonetsa Mangudya has not made it a secret in his quest to fight economic crimes.
Mangudya’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), which falls under the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe , has upped the ante against financial crimes, particularly illicit currency trading and abuse of the foreign currency auction system.
Over 200 local businesses so far have been slapped with heavy penalties by the FIU for manipulating the foreign currency exchange rate through illicit currency trading and abusing the foreign currency auction system.
Currently, it has a staff complement of 27 permanent workers. It intends to recruit 19 experts in forensic auditing and accounting as well as other specialists.
FIU director-general Mr Oliver Chiperesa made revelations that the new staff will also boost the organisation’s capacity to track money that is siphoned out of the country.
It is envisaged that the new experts will also strengthen the unit’s supervision and monitoring of non-bank financial institutions, including designated non-financial businesses.
Although the FIU has been operating with limited resources due to the Covid-19, it has made significant progress such as helping coordinate Zimbabwe’s recent removal from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) grey list.
FIU’s work includes analysing a broad range of financial transactions data from financial institutions and designated non-financial businesses and professions (DNFBPs), and preparing financial intelligence reports to share with stakeholders.
It also supervises financial institutions and DNFBPs to ensure and enforce compliance with Anti Money Laundering and Counter Financing of Terrorism (AMLCFT) legal and regulatory requirements.
The mandate to monitor traders’ compliance with requirements of the Bank Use Promotion Act and ensuring that they conduct transactions through formal banking channels also lies with the FIU.
Suspicious transactions by professionals such as lawyers, accountants, estate agents, casinos and precious stone dealers could also be easily monitored to improve compliance with anti-money laundering and counter-financing of terrorism regulations.
“Unlike banks, which have in place stronger controls, most of these other sectors have not yet reached the level of compliance that we want them to be at. They submit far fewer suspicious transaction reports than they should. So with increased FIU capacity, we will see more and more transactions being reported by other sectors instead of the current status where it is mostly banks that report,” added Mr Chiperesa.
Capacity enhancement in the FIU, he also said, should be mirrored in other law enforcement agencies.