Zimbabwe Court Suspends Police Econet Search Warrant

Justice Edith Mushore
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HARARE (Reuters) – Zimbabwe’s High Court on Wednesday suspended a police search warrant against mobile telecoms firm Econet Wireless which sought to force it to turn over details of subscribers and transactions as part of a money-laundering probe.

Econet, the country’s biggest operator, had argued in an urgent application that the information sought by the police covering six months was too broad in scope, and would violate its privacy and that of its clients.

High Court Judge Edith Mushore granted an interim order sought by Econet to revoke the warrant, whose legality will be determined at a full hearing in future.

A media freedom organisation and a rights group this week also asked the court to stop Econet from complying with the police warrant in order to maintain the privacy and confidentiality of clients’ information.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government says black market foreign currency traders are using Econet’s mobile money platform to undermine the local currency and launder money.

Econet said in court papers the accusations were “ridiculous” and part of a plot to undermine its market leadership position.