Harare – Zimbabwe’s new leader, Emmerson Mnangagwa, is targeting funds and assets externalised during President Robert Mugabe’s reign after he issued a moratorium on Tuesday for corporates and individuals involved to return the funds to the state by end of February next year or face prosecution.
Zimbabwe’s central bank and other government officials have partly blamed shortages of hard currency on externalisation.
Central bank governor John Mangudya said Zimbabwe had become a cheap source of foreign currency.
Leaked papers from Panama law firm Mosack Fonseca last year showed Alex Mhembere, chief executive officer of Zimplats, as well as other executives from Innscor, as having been involved in offshore dealings.
Zimplats had also been named in the leaked papers for paying management through offshore accounts, but Implats refuted this, saying it had no knowledge of the offshore company.
Now Mnangagwa has revealed that the Zimbabwean government is going after externalised funds from Zimbabwe through corporate and individual financial activities. This comes as Mnangagwa announced last Friday that he will have zero tolerance for corruption under his new administration.
“Huge sums of money and other assets were illegally externalised by certain individuals and corporates. Such practices constitute a very serious economic crime,” Mnangagwa, who was sworn in as new President of Zimbabwe on Friday, said.
Zimbabwe was moving speedily to put in place a three month moratorium “within which those involved” in externalisation “can bring back the funds and assets, with no questions being asked or charges pressed against” them. The moratorium period for this runs from the beginning of December until the end of February 2018.
“Affected persons who wish to comply with this directive should liaise with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe for necessary facilitation and accounting. Upon expiry of the three month window, government will proceed to arrest all those who have not complied,” added Mnangagwa.
Former Zimbabwe finance minister Ignatius Chombo is already facing corruption charges following Mugabe’s the resignation.
The Zimbabwe military said this month that it was dealing with criminals around Mugabe when the country’s defence forces intervened, paving the way for a new administration.
There have also been outcries for the government to account for money earned from the country’s alluvial diamond mining operations in the Chiadzwa area.
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