The Zimbabwean government is pressing charges against the Catholic diocese of Hwange over alleged involvement in black-market currency exchange. Another Catholic institution, the church-run Mater Dei Hospital in Bulawayo was charged last week with large-scale black market transactions. A spokesman said the government is attacking the Church because of its growing criticism of the Mugabe regime. Black-market trading is very common in Zimbabwe, now that inflation is around the 1000%. For many institutions in Zimbabwe that receive charity funding from overseas, using official channels to change funds received in foreign currencies would mean making a great loss. Official rates are only a fraction of the value of the Zimbabwe dollar (Z$), established on the black market. The charges are seen as "the latest round of a battle" between the Zimbabwean government and the bishops of the Catholic Church.
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