illegal foreign exchange shops
Bank of Tanzania (BoT)

The bank of Tanzania (BoT) has warned the public against using un-authorized bureaux de change (BDCs) or individual services offered in the country due to various risks.

The Central Bank’s warning has come after a special operation conducted in Arusha last November to identify foreign exchange shops that were indulging illegal businesses and operating without a valid license from the regulator.

“The bank of Tanzania informs the public to shun using services offered by illegal bureaux de change entities or individuals due to risks, including theft and dealing in counterfeit currencies.

In addition, engagement in unauthorized bureaux de change services is a criminal offense and may lead to monetary fines or imprisonment,” said BoT in a statement.

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BoT added that special operations to crack down on illegal bureaux de change will continue regularly to root out unauthorized dealers from the market.

In the meantime, the service will be offered all BoT licensed banks and financial institutions. BoT requests the public to report any inconveniences encountered in this transitional period.

The Bank of Tanzania has also warned deposit money banks (DMBs) against being used to carry out illegal transactions, saying it would not hesitate to block such accounts and hand over operators to law enforcers for prosecution.

A senior commercial bank official, who requested anonymity, said the bank was aware of the presence of unauthorized money changers, who are essentially the ones responsible for the pressure on the Tanzanian Shilling in the forex market.

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In November 2018, BoT warned businesses operating in the foreign exchange market against engaging in unlawful practices, saying anyone caught would accordingly be dealt with by the law.

It has commenced the re-licensing of foreign exchange bureaux, warning banks and other authorized dealers to desist from activities detrimental to the smooth functioning of the foreign exchange market.

The Central Bank has also further advice all bureaux operators to apply a fresh for licenses. Subsequent to this move, all foreign exchange shipments are to be done through banks and only after approval from the central bank.

The BoT seeks to ensure the presence of only strong and serious bureaux de change capable of carrying out clean business, free of money laundering and illegal foreign currency trading.