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Illegal forex dealer fined $10 million

by Staff reporter
27 Aug 2022 at 05:59hrs | Views
Local company, Tererati (Pvt) Limited, involved in illegal foreign currency deals during 2020 in Harare using EcoCash agent lines, was fined $10 498 300 yesterday after admitting to making the illicit transactions without being a licenced bureau de change.

Tererati (Pvt) Limited admitted to the offence, through one of its directors, Samuel Tererai Chiodze, who was also charged in his own capacity.

Harare regional magistrate Mrs Vongai Guwuriro said if the company did not pay, a warrant of execution against its property will be issued, meaning the State could sell off assets to raise the money.

The State withdrew charges before plea against Chiodze in his personal capacity.

Tererati (Pvt) Limited was charged with 103 counts of violating Exchange Control Regulations.

Between January and June 2020, Tererati (Pvt) Limited opened an account with Steward Bank and had registered in its name three Ecocash agent lines: 0787 631 921, 0787 631 922 and 0787 631 923.

Tererati (Pvt) then transacted a total of $9 498 300 from its Steward Bank account into its EcoCash agent lines.

The money was used to buy foreign currency from individuals at the corner First Street Mall and Augustinho Neto Avenue in Harare, also known as Tererati Bureau de Change.

Tererati (Pvt) Limited earned US$110 445 after transacting at $86 for US$1 though it was not licenced to operate as a bureau de change, which was in violation of Exchange Control  regulations.

Mr Garudzo Ziyaduma appeared for the State.

On Thursday, several companies and individuals appeared before the same court on charges of violating Exchange Control Regulations and for money laundering by dealing with shops selling and buying foreign currency.

Melusi Mabhena of Chinhoyi is alleged to have illegally traded $9 million, Zenboa Investments and Thurnride Investments, both represented by Simbarashe Charamba of Mutare, $147 000 through Zenboa and $33 000 through Thurnride.

Odicious Innocent Dzamara of Harare is alleged to have illegally dealt in $1,7 million on the black market, Liberty Mutsata of Gweru $17 170 000, Vertchord Investments, which is jointly charged with Mujere Nzvimba and Gilbert Paka of Harare, $73 680 000, Andrew Makoto of Harare $83 million, and Lyton Reid or Alchore Systems of Gweru with unnamed sums.

The companies and individuals were granted  bail ranging from $50 000 to $100 000.

Mr Whisper Mabhaudhi alleges that the illegal forex dealers would sometime in January last year, liaise with individuals and shop operators that whenever they wanted to make orders in foreign currency, they must engage them.

It is said that they would then pay in local currency and pocket the US dollars.

The court heard that the illegal foreign currency dealers would also use bulk agent lines to buy foreign currency.

Source - The Herald
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