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Chicken Inn under RBZ investigation for US$1-ZW$200 pricing rate

ZIMBABWE’s fast-food chain, Simbisa Brands Limited (Simbisa) is under investigation on charges of currency manipulation, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) said.

A receipt that went viral on Wednesday from the company’s Bakers Inn Zvishavane outlet showed that the entity was using a US$1-ZW$200 rate in pricing its products against the official US$1-ZW$86.

The receipt showed that it cost US$1 for one Russian and Chips or ZW$200 for the same in local currency.

“The Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) is investigating allegations of currency manipulation and pegging of the ZW$ at 200 to 1 USD circulating on social media. Perpetrators shall be brought to book,” the RBZ said on its @ReserveBankZIM Twitter page on Thursday.

The parallel market rate hovers anything between US$1-160 and180 as the local currency continues on a steady fall.

Recently, the RBZ named a number of individuals and companies it accused of illegal forex dealings and currency manipulation. The Central Bank instructed banks, mobile money operators and other financial service providers to freeze their accounts and to bar them from accessing financial services for a period of 2 years.

“The FIU, in collaboration with law enforcement agencies, will continue to monitor various social media and bank accounts to identify and take action against perpetrators of illicit dealings. Over and above the corrective measures of barring the delinquent individuals from accessing banking and financial services and operating mobile phone lines, the FIU has forwarded their names and particulars to law enforcement agencies for prosecution,” RBZ governor John Mangudya said in a statement.

Statutory Instrument 127 of 2021 imposes civil penalties of up to ZW$1 million on firms found guilty of manipulating the auction system and abusing foreign currency.  

There is a ZW$50 000 penalty for refusing to accept Zimbabwe dollars.

A ZW$50 000 penalty is also levied on anyone selling goods at a rate above the official exchange rate and the same applies to companies that continue to issue Zimbabwe dollar receipts for goods sold in US currency.

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