By Shami Makombe
HARARE pharmaceuticals retailer Best Zone Pharmacy has been dragged before the magistrate’s court on charges of violating the Exchange Control Act.
The Exchange Control Act prohibits the selling, displaying and offering of goods or services for sale, above the official exchange rate in Zimbabwe.
Government authorities accuse businesses of receiving foreign currency at official rates from the forex auction system, but pricing their goods at black market rates, making a killing while while stoking inflation.
Represented by its director Isaac Chipako, the pharmacy is accused of selling products at above the official bank rate.
Chipako’s trial date was set for February 9.
State prosecutor Lancelot Mutsokoti told court heard that Best Zone pharmacy sold Benylin cough syrup for $1260 or US$7, which was at a rate of $180 per United States dollar. This was in contrast to the official $88.52 per United States dollar.
Last week, the RBZ warned businesses against manipulating the local currency saying it would deploy all tools at its disposal to deal with the financial malpractice.
Central bank Governor John Mangudya warned that those found on the wrong side of the law will face censor which may include fines, freezing of banking assets or even blacklisting from enjoyment of financial services.
The Zimbabwe dollar has been pegged at $108.67 against the United States dollar since the last foreign currency auction on 14 December.
In a statement last Wednesday, the central bank said its Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) was investigating cases of breaches of the Bank Use Promotion Act and currency manipulations by some business entities.
“The breaches have become particularly pronounced and prevalent at some schools and pharmacies,” it said.
“The FIU will deploy all tools at its disposal to deal with such malpractices including imposition of fines, freezing of bank accounts and blacklisting from enjoyment of financial services.”