“These nefarious activities thrive on different electronic platforms. New measures will be pursued to stop such malpractices.
“I call on all of us to tread back into the real economy, away from the current practice where currencies become key commodities that transact in dark markets, controlled by shadowy figures.
“The costs and havoc this wreaks on the whole economy have become quite apparent and most unfortunate. A bold response is merited.
“To that end, this problem is now being treated as a serious security threat which requires a different response so that we get back to clean, productive and disciplined economic activity operating within norms and rules of the market.”
Illegal foreign currency trading is reported to be one of the reasons that led to the spike in prices last week as people trashed the bond note following the re-introduction of foreign currency accounts by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.
The bond note which had been trading at below 1 to 2 with the United States dollar fell to 1 to 6.
According to the Sunday Mail, Mnangagwa is understood to have summoned his security cluster to discuss the illegal trading in foreign currency last week, paving the way for the imminent arrests of high-profile figures who are suspected of masterminding black market activities.
ZANU-PF is reported to have compiled a list of the main culprits around the country.
Last year the government passed a law under which illegal foreign currency dealers could be jailed for up to 10 years.
“In order to deal with the scourge of people buying and selling cash, government has gazetted Exchange Control Regulations enacted by the President, and section 2 will empower the police to arrest anyone trading in currency without a licence and allow the police to seize the cash,” then Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa said.
“This seized currency will be deposited at the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe for exhibit pending prosecution, and the regulations will also provide for freezing of funds of corresponding value in financial institutions, where such proceeds are suspected cases of dealing in currency.
“Penalties are fines not exceeding the value of the currency and sentences not exceeding 10 years, and courts can impose fines of three times the value of currency,” he said.
The arrest of high profile politicians, especially from his own ruling party, could be a major fillip for Mnangagwa as it will demonstrate that he is serious about curbing corruption and other illegal activities as government ministers have been immune from arrest while in office in the past.
Independent legislator Temba Mliswa told Parliament recently that Mnangagwa must show his seriousness by arresting errant ministers while they are still in office.