The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) claims it has earned the ire of several politicians it has investigated for possible money laundering, with some of them calling to express their anger.
RBZ financial intelligence unit (FIU) director, Mirirai Chiremba said the way money laundering had grown in the country had caught them unawares.
“No one knew that this thing [money laundering] was going to be a growing phenomenon. Now with all these leakages, we now get a lot of phone calls from these politicians saying: ‘Mr Chiremba why are you asking about my properties at the Deeds Office? It has got nothing to do with you,’” he told a training workshop for the Institute of Bankers of Zimbabwe (IoBZ) in Harare yesterday.
“We are complying and that is the rule, if you do not comply, you are not part of the club. If you are not part of the club you cannot transact that is the simple analogy. If you are part of the club, follow the rules.”
Chiremba said in 2004 he started advocating for the country to look seriously into money laundering, but was shot down by senior officials, who ruled it as unimportant.
The National Risk Assessment process undertaken between 2014 and 2015 found that over $2,03 billion was being laundered through smuggling, tax evasion and corruption.
As part of the initiatives to weed out money laundering, the RBZ was working on a national implantation plan aimed at ensuring all banks are compliant with new anti-money laundering regulations.
IoBZ chairperson, Ralph Watungwa, said people involved in money laundering always come up with new methods and called on bankers to always scrutinise their clients.
“You might be having those funds that fund those activities without knowing,” he said.
“You obviously would want to know what kind of customer you have and what are his activities and what sort friends this person has,” he said.
Author: Tatira Zwinoira