ECOCASH, the mobile money transfer platform owned by mobile telecommunications giant Econet Zimbabwe, is operating with an outdated database, the Financial Intelligence Unit has revealed.
The revelation comes in the wake of suspension by the FIU, of Ecocash agent accounts whose transaction limits were beyond ZW$100 000 per month.
“FIU analyses show that the majority of agent accounts are no longer being used for the purpose for which they were originally intended, such as cash-in, cash-out, sending money, airtime vending and facilitating payment of utility bills by clients,” the financial policing unit said in a statement.
“The FIU further established that the KYC (Know Your Customer) information which Ecocash has in respect of most of the agents is inadequate, inaccurate or out of date, hence the need for a wholesale update to ensure that only bona fide entities are allowed to continue using the platform,” the statement added.
The statement also revealed the confusion surrounding the suspension of the account, with the intelligence unit accusing Ecocash of abdicating duty.
It complained: “Since the issuance of our directive on 4 May 2020, the FIU’s expectation is that by now Ecocash should have commenced facilitation of the re-registration of the bona fide customers, among those affected. Instead, Ecocash continues to refer its clients to the FIU.”
“The FIU, therefore, wishes to advise affected Ecocash customers to direct all queries to Ecocash,” the statement noted.
The FIU complained of “being inundated by Ecocash (Private) Limited clients whose agent accounts have been suspended” pursuant to the 4 May 2020 directive.
The directive, which the unit said was not a ban, was meant to make Eocash, like other financial service providers, to re-register, update and strengthen KYC requirements for agents that transact high volumes, especially those in excess of ZW$100 000.
The move was made in line with Anti Money Laundering and Combating Financing of Terrorism laws, the unit said.
“This was not an absolute ban, but simply required Ecocash to re-register, update and strengthen Know Your Customer requirements for agents that transact high volumes, in line with Anti Money Laundering and Combating Financing of Terrorism laws.
“The move is meant to weed out illicit foreign currency dealers who are now the main drivers of high value/high volume transactions on the Ecocash platform, in the process destabilizing and distorting the foreign currency market,” the statement added.
The mobile money market is characterized by different arbitrage charges, and the victim is the end consumer. – ZBC