Local authority’s FCA frozen by Financial Intelligence Unit

By John Nhandara

The move by the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) to freeze the Harare City Council’s foreign currency accounts has been described as the best corrective measure to ensure sanity prevails in the corruption riddled opposition led local authority.

The FIU has since frozen the city council’s foreign currency accounts in the wake of reports that the local authority was exclusively offering some services in United States dollars.

The move has since been welcomed by the majority of Zimbabweans as a corrective measure against the unjustified practice.

Mr Precious Shumba of the Harare Residents Association said, “We have for so long questioned the billing system of some services by the Harare City Council. The intervention by the financial intelligence Unit was very necessary because council was supposed to wait and get views from the 2023 budget consultations.”

“The council is supposed to accept all form our currencies and the FIU was on point in freezing their accounts,” a resident noted.

Another commented, “In some cases the city council is charging rate using parallel market rates and this will ensure transparency.”

Financial Intelligence Unit Director General, Mr Oliver Chiperesa explained the rationale behind freezing the accounts, warning other local businesses and public institutions against breaching government policy.

“All institutions that offer goods and services should accept all forms of currencies. The law and government policy is very clear. The freezing of accounts is one of the tools we have at our disposal. We have been receiving numerous complaints on the city of Harare to the fact that some customers were forced to pay in USD and issued receipts in RTGS. We were left with no option except freezing. We are closing in and investigating other local authorities as well as public institutions to take appropriate action.”

Some services that were exclusively charged in United States dollars include land inspection and approval services as well as towing fees.