Zimbabwe’s security force leaders sidelined the central bank and forced the government to issue an order to close the stock exchange and pause mobile money transactions, people acquainted with the situation said.
The 26 June order came after pressure from the JOC, according to sources the central bank was not notified.
The measure is further evidence that senior ruling party and military officials are getting aggravated with the administration of President Emmerson Mnangagwa. Inflation has surged to 786%, the currency has crashed and the country is facing shortages of food and fuel.
“The JOC includes officials from the military, police and secret service and is the highest body in terms of coordinating state security, though it doesn’t usually pronounce on economic matters. It stepped in after deeming that finance minister Mthuli Ncube and central bank governor John Mangudya failed to take action to address the crisis,” one of the people said.
The government denied the order came from the JOC.
“The order came from government after taking input from all agencies and departments,” said Nick Mangwana, the government spokesman. “Evidence linking the mobile money platforms to money laundering as well as illegal foreign exchange trading and money creation had been uncovered.”
“It is not correct that the Reserve Bank and the ministry of finance were not involved in the decision or were not aware of the developments leading to the suspension,” secretary for finance George Guvamatanga said in response to questions sent by text message sent by Bloomberg. “This was a further follow-up of work that the Financial Intelligence Unit was already working on which led to a court ruling against one of the mobile operators.”