The Zimbabwe Anti Corruption Commission (ZACC) has accused banks of facilitating money laundering for corrupt individuals’ ill-gotten wealth.
ZACC Chairperson, Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo launched a scathing attack on banks saying some of them with a safe haven to hide their “dirty money” thereby legitimizing it.
Matanda-Moyo said there exists a gap in the enforcement of anti-laundering laws which make it easier for corrupt persons and banks to collude.
“While banks and other financial intermediaries currently have a duty to ensure that for instance, due diligence is taken by investors coming to do business in Zimbabwe, it is a known fact that some of them are failing or neglecting to do this,” Matanda-Moyo said.
“Many banks continue to provide the corrupt with a haven to stash their dirty money. This loophole is due to both the overall lax enforcement of anti-money laundering regulations and the way that banks currently undertake due diligence. It goes without saying that the financial sector is a critical player in the fight against corruption,” she said.
She added that ZACC will not hesitate to use its constitutional and statutory authority to arrest any perpetrators of financial crimes.
She noted that in some cases, executives of local banks are stashing their money in offshore accounts which kills public confidence in the banking sector.
“If you do not have confidence in an institution that you lead, then who do you expect to have confidence? This must stop forthwith and as ZACC, we will investigate this and expose the culprits,” Matanda-Moyo said.
For the banking sector to get the trust back, she said, there is a need, for those at the top to desist from shunning local banks.
“We are aware that corruption in the private sector is damaging the economy, and this must stop forthwith. We have noted some banks’ involvement as conduits of proceeds of ill-gotten money from the public sector. We are warning you that this must stop.”
Matanda-Moyo added that the recent Transparency International Corruption Perception Index indicates that Zimbabwe has moved a few notches in the right direction on the rankings.
“This is because of these and many other efforts we are putting up to fight corruption. We are nowhere near where we want to see ourselves but nonetheless, we must remember that a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step,” she said.