HARARE, Oct. 26 (Xinhua) -- At least 37 illegal foreign currency dealers who were arrested in Harare under "Operation Dzosai mari" over the past few days have appeared at the Harare Magistrate's Court, with 10 of them being convicted for the offences and forfeiting their money to the State.
Dzosai mari is the vernacular Shona for "return the money".
The convicted will also do community service, while the remaining 27, who are still on trial, were granted bail ranging between 100 and 200 U.S. dollars depending on the amount of money they were found in possession of.
The Herald newspaper reported Friday that they appeared on separate records before magistrates Rumbidzai Mugwagwa and Nyasha Vhitorini for contravening exchange control regulations which criminalize the illegal trading in foreign currency.
The two magistrates said they convicted the illegal foreign currency dealers because they were sabotaging the economy by channeling huge sums of cash to unproductive sectors.
They also took note of the fact that while banks were dry, the illegal traders were very liquid.
Those who were convicted had their jail terms commuted to community service on condition of good behavior.
Charity Mugoni (22) was sentenced to eight months in prison and four months were suspended for five years on condition she does not commit a similar offence within that period.
The remaining four months were set aside on condition she performs 140 hours of community service.
She forfeited 2,220 South African rands, 405 dollars in bond notes and 150 U.S. dollars to the State.
The operation against the parallel market is being conducted by the police together with other stakeholders.
About 170 illegal foreign currency dealers have so far been arrested countrywide since the operation began.
The black market has been blamed for the rise in prices of basic commodities in recent weeks.