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RBZ gets powers to flex muscles

Godfrey Marawanyika

THE Amendment of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act which came into effect last month has given the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) powers to place asset management firms and discount

houses under a curator.

This month alone the central bank has placed two discount houses and one asset management firm under a curator.

A fortnight ago, the central bank closed Intermarket Discount House and Barbican Asset Management and placed them under a curator for, among other things, imprudent banking behaviour.

The central bank said it was also protecting depositors’ funds.

Amending the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act is designed to facilitate the investigation and prosecution of crimes affecting the country’s economic interests such as corruption, money laundering and externalisation of foreign currency.

Up until January this year the registration and regulatory accountability of all asset management companies used to be done by the Registrar of Financial Institutions.

This is now being done by the RBZ.

Since December last year the central bank has bailed out a number of financial institutions which were faced with a crippling liquidity crunch.

The RBZ has also come up with a Troubled Bank Fund that is meant to help banks facing collapse.

The fund however expires at the end of this month.

Under the Amended Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act, a person can be detained for up to 21 days if there is suspicion of a serious economic crime.

The Act also makes it an offence to export any foreign currency, gold, silver or platinum.

One of the consequences of placing an institution under the management of a curator is that the institution of all legal proceedings and execution of “writs, summons” will no longer be effective unless the High Court grants leave.

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