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A street money changer counts South African Rands in Harare, Zimbabwe, May 5, 2016. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo - RTX2CZDI

Zimbabwean police have arrested 478 illegal foreign currency dealers as they try to clamp down on the illicit trade that is now thriving across the country.

Spokesperson Charity Charamba said in a statement that the second biggest city in the country – Bulawayo – had the highest number of arrests with 209, followed by Harare with 65, the Herald newspaper reported Saturday.

“Thirty cases were sent to court and five were convicted. The rest are still pending,” said Charamba.

She added that the police would continue carrying out operations targeting foreign currency dealers to restore sanity in the market.

“People should refrain from engaging in these illicit dealings,” she said.

In October, about 170 illegal foreign currency dealers were arrested countrywide as police intensified a campaign against trading of cash on the black market which was causing volatility in the prices of basic commodities.

Police said they launched the operation against the illegal currency traders because they posed a serious economic threat to the country.

Police are conducting the operation together with other relevant stakeholders.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said that he suspects that bigwigs could be involved in the black market, saying it was inconceivable that the activities could be so rampant without the complicity of high-ranking state officials. Enditem

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