Monday, October 26, 2020

Zimbabwe court stops money laundering probe of telecom firm Econet

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Zimbabwe’s High Court on Wednesday ruled in favour of the country’s top telecoms operator Econet Wireless and revoked a search warrant issued by the police over allegations of money laundering, the company spokesperson said.

Police issued the warrant last week as part of an investigation into suspected money laundering by the operator.

Investigators wanted Econet to disclose the details of its more than 10 million subscribers and records of all transactions conducted within the first half of 2020.

Company spokesman Fungai Mandiveyi confirmed local media reports that the warrant had been suspended by High Court Judge Justice Edith Mushore.

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“I can confirm the development but will be able to comment on it after receiving full judgement,” Mandiveyi told AFP.

Econet filed papers to the High Court on Monday in which it called the warrant “unlawful” and a “violation of… privacy”.

It has denied all accusations of money laundering.

Zimbabwean state officials have blamed mobile money transfer platforms for galloping inflation that has wiped out savings and rendered basic goods unaffordable to most.

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Last month, the government abruptly suspended mobile money transactions provided by telephone operators — the most widely used platform to make and receive payments in the crisis-ridden southern African country.

The services continued for daily individual transactions but were capped for commercial transactions.

The government also suspended trade on the country’s stock exchange, which it accused of being complicit in illicit financial activities.

Mobile money payments account for most electronic payment transactions in Zimbabwe, which is critically short of bank notes.

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