Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa was yesterday taken to task by legislators over Government’s inaction on the illegal sale of scarce cash on the black market.
Members of Parliament across the political divide asked the minister why there was no evident effort to arrest and take to court cash dealers whom they claimed acted in cahoots with financial institutions and influential individuals.
The questions were raised in the National Assembly during a question and answer session.
Shamva South Member of Parliament Cde Joseph Mapiki (Zanu-PF) was the first to ask why cash dealers were not being jailed, and fingered members of the Indian and Chinese communities for selling cash at a premium.
Cde Mapiki said EcoCash dealers were also levying charges on those who wanted cash.
Minister Chinamasa said there was no law providing for the arrest and imprisonment of such individuals but that the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe was empowered to impose penalties under the Banking Act.
“The law to jail people (dealing in cash) is not yet there. What is there are penalties for those found doing that. We have agreed as Cabinet that a law be put in place. I am not saying cash is not being sold but I do not know about it because I would not be there when people sell it,” said Minister Chinamasa.
His response was met with howls of disapproval from legislators, particularly when he said he wanted to get more information in respect of EcoCash dealers.
Legislators were riled that Minister Chinamasa appeared to suggest he was not aware of a practice that is rampant in the country.