CHINESE nationals, retail and mining companies – long touted as Zimbabwe’s all-weather friends – have dominated the list of alleged cash looters who externalised over $1,3 billion during former President Robert Mugabe’s era, fuelling the current economic crunch.
According to the looters’ list released by President Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday, following the expiry of his 104-day moratorium, the bulk of the money was externalised through non-repatriation of export proceeds, payment for goods not received in Zimbabwe or funds externalised to foreign banks in cash or under spurious transactions.
Chinese nationals and big mining companies, where the government has interests, dominated the list of individuals and companies, who allegedly externalised huge sums of money released, prejudicing the troubled economy of almost $1 billion.
However, the list received mixed reactions from the public, politicians and business community, with some questioning why Zanu PF bigwigs believed to be involved in the scam were not listed, save for former musician-cum-politician Elias Musakwa who allegedly externalised $9 million to Portugal.
Others, however, hailed the move by Mnangagwa’s government, saying it promoted the spirit of accountability although the list fell short of public expectations.
Other than naming and shaming the “externalisers”, Mnangagwa has threatened legal action against them, although financial analysts warned that the legal route might prove difficult without first amending the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Act.
Last Friday, former First Lady Grace Mugabe‚ widely speculated to be the main target of Mnangagwa’s call for funds to be returned‚ told a Sunday paper she had nothing to hide.
“We are honest people. We have no money outside‚” she said.
According to the list, the bulk of the money was deposited in Chinese, Botswana, South African, Hong Kong, United Kingdom, Portuguese and Mozambican banks.
Several government-owned companies that were required to meet and satisfy the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) standards were surprisingly on the list.
They include Zimchem Refineries, Sandawana Mine, National Printing and Packaging, Printflow (Pvt) Limited, NetOne, Allied Timbers Zimbabwe and Sable Chemicals.
African Associated Mines dominated with reports that it externalised $62 049 622.
Former Chiadzwa diamond mining companies, accused of failing to properly abide to ethical business standards, stand accused of collectively externalising more than $111 million.
Some of the companies were in joint ventures with the government.
See the full list here