EcoCash: Cassava Smartech takes RBZ to court

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Cassava Smarttech the owners of Ecocash, who recently were forced to shut down the operation of their Agent’s from Cashing In and Cash Out on behalf of their subscribers this afternoon has taken the Central Bank to court, with an urgent chamber application, to get the court to reverse the harsh decision that was thrust upon them on Monday 30 September 2019.

There have been complaining in the past weeks as there was a cry for action to be taken on the Ecocash agents as they were raising the percentages of cashing out nearly 60% of the money you wanted.

The people of Zimbabwe wanted action to be taken aganist Econet Agents. ‘ZACC, as well as the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe, came out guns blazing to demand that Ecocash take action against their errant Agents. A day later Ecocash issued a press release announcing that they had suspended 4,000 Agent lines, due to this business ethic, or lack thereof.’

Strive Masiiwa addressed this issue when he was told to take action resulting in him telling us the source of the problem pointing out that it was RBZ  to blame as they are not printing enough cash for the state.

“EcoCash is not a currency. It is simply a mechanism that money moves through. You don’t dig up a road, simply because a thief came on a road! EcoCash is just a road for money, it is not the money!EcoCash does not have any money. The Cash [bank notes] money belongs to the agent. Ecocash does not print money, either physical or electronic that is done by the RBZ.

They decide how much banknotes are in circulation. If there are not enough, then they must supply them, until there is enough supply. It seems that the RBZ felt that this action was not enough for them to look the other way and decided to suspend Ecocash Agent accounts from cashing in and cashing out” said Strive Masiyiwa as he was responding to one of his followers on Facebook.

Former Finance Minister, Mr. Tendai Biti stated that “the banning of Ecocash payouts will not & cant stop the parallel market. Only structural reform can. This era of regulations, Presidential decrees & exchange control directives is a dangerous period of dirigisme. Command economics don’t work. The illegitimate regime is clueless.”

Below is the information of the urgent chamber application:

IN THE HIGH COURT OF ZIMBABWE CASE NO. /19 HELD AT HARARE In the matter between:

CASSAVA SMARTECH ZIMBABWE LIMITED APPLICANT

AND

RESERVE BANK OF ZIMBABWE RESPONDENT

URGENT CHAMBER APPLICATION FOR A TEMPORARY INTERDICT

TAKE NOTICE THAT the applicant intends to apply to the High Court at HARARE for an Order in terms of the Draft Order annexed to this notice and that the accompanying affidavit’s and documents will be used in support of the application. The application is made on the grounds that:

1.The Applicant is responsible for the management of a mobile money transfer platform that has 10,562,070 users of which 6,400,000 have been active during the last 90 days. Of the total registered users, 6,337,242 are Rural customers while 4,224,828 are urban customers.

2.From September 2011 when the Cash In facility was introduced, 227,519,851 Cash In transactions worth US$10,195,546,216.00 plus ZW$7,542,785,610.00 have been conducted. On the other hand, 387,308,926 Cash Out transactions worth US$8,657,704,182.00 plus ZW$4,142,862,274.00 have also been conducted.

3.The Respondent has directed the Applicant to shut down the Cash In and Cash Out facilities of its system purporting to act under Section 10 of the National Payments Systems Act [Chapter 24:23]. The Applicant is already in the process of implementing the Directive with the possibility of a complete shutdown of the Ecocash platform as a whole to enable completion of the process.

4.This Application is intended to temporarily stop the continued implementation of the Respondent’s Directive pending the determination of the legality or otherwise of the directive on the return day on the grounds that Applicant meets all the requirements for the grant of a temporary interdict. If you intend to oppose this application you will have to file a Notice of Opposition in Form No. 29A, together with one or more opposing affidavits, with the Registrar of the High Court at HARARE within 3 hours unless otherwise directed by the Court after the time at which this Application was served upon you You will also have to serve a copy of the Notice of Opposition and affidavits on the Applicant at the address for service specified below. Your affidavits may have annexed thereto the documents verifying the facts set out in the affidavits.

If you do not file an opposing affidavit within the period specified above, this application will be set down for hearing in the High Court at HARARE without further notice to you and will be dealt with as an unopposed application.

Further, Take Notice that the Applicant’s Address for Service is the Address of its undermentioned Legal Practitioners.

DATED AT HARARE THIS 1st DAY OF October 2019

MTETHWA & NYAMBIRAI LEGAL PRACTITIONERS Applicants’ Legal Practitioners

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