ZIMBABWE remains under a punitive regime of economic sanctions that have negatively impacted the movement of funds and trading capabilities in the past two decades, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Governor Dr John Mangudya said.
Clarifying a statement, he issued on Monday in regard to sanctions, Dr Mangudya shot down claims by some media outlets that the central bank is being used to bust sanctions by noting that there are no sanctions on Zimbabwean gold and therefore no persuasion to circumvent that which does not exist.
In an interview, Dr Mangudya said Zimbabwe remains under sanctions that affect the movement of funds.
“Sanctions on Zimbabwe are through ZIDERA and augmented by OFAC through placing of entities on the designated list of sanctions. What this means is that whilst these sanctions are not directly on trade per se they negatively affect the movement of funds within the international banking system.
“The Zimbabwean banking sector has lost a substantial number of corresponding banking relationships over the past 20 years, through de-risking, because of the OFAC sanctions.
“OFAC sanctions also affect the smooth flow of funds across the borders as financial institutions are obligated to comply with OFAC sanctions. ZIDERA on the other hand is designed to put a credit freeze on official financial flows to Zimbabwe,” said Dr Mangudya.
Yesterday morning, Dr Mangudya told a breakfast meeting in Harare that allegations of money laundering through the RBZ, that were raised by some media organisations could not go unchallenged.
“The snippets for the documentary that were coming are not rumours or grapevine. When something like that is advertised, I will not sit down and wait when someone is demonising the central bank and Government of Zimbabwe. I am the custodian of the financial system in this country,” Mangudya said.
“Money laundering is serious. Even when people say I responded fast or I was supposed to wait, wait for what when the house is burning? You are told that there is an allegation of money laundering in your country and the Reserve Bank is the one cleaning it and you sleep comfortably waiting, that’s not acceptable. We are a central bank that has its own integrity,” said Dr Mangudya.
Meanwhile, the main opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) on Monday said Zimbabwe should not “lobby on lies any longer,” after the central bank appear to dismantle years of carefully managed propaganda that the country is under economic sanctions.
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor John Mangudya issued a lengthy statement railing at what he described as “sensationally wild, false and malicious media reports” about a yet-to-be-broadcast Al Jazeera documentary which – according to a promo – will reveal the apex bank as “Southern Africa’s laundromat” of the “gold mafia”.
While insisting on the RBZ’s integrity, Mangudya sought to attack a central premise of the money laundering claims – that the bank is involved in “sanctions-busting” activities on behalf criminal networks employed by Zimbabwe’s ruling elite that turn dirty cash into gold, which is sold around the world.
“The bank is not a sanctioned entity and the cited individuals are not sanctioned persons either,” Mangudya said in his statement, referring to several businesspeople and officials named in the documentary including gold dealers Ewan Macmillan, Henrietta Rushwaya, Kamlesh Pattni and President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s ambassador at large, Uebert Angel.
The governor added: “There are no sanctions on Zimbabwean exports and imports, including trade in gold to warrant Zimbabwe to circumvent international sanctions through illicit trade in gold. As such, the claim that there is a scheme to bust international sanctions using illicit ways shows beyond doubt that the peddlers of this narrative have a sinister agenda with nefarious objectives of tarnishing both the bank and the Republic of Zimbabwe.”
For the past two decades, the ruling Zanu PF party has claimed unilateral sanctions by the European Union and the United States on certain individuals and arms companies have derailed the country’s development and wreaked havoc on the country’s economy, which those countries deny.
CCC spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere said with his angry statement, Mangudya had let slip that the sanctions narrative was all propaganda.
“Today, the governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has announced that there are no sanctions on Zimbabwean imports and exports,” Mahere said.
“The real problem in Zimbabwe is corruption and bad governance. No need to lobby on lies any longer.”
Peter Mutasa, the chairman of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, said: “We have been telling some dunderheads that they are being played through propaganda. It’s not sanctions, it’s looting!”
Mnangagwa’s spokesman George Charamba has previously cautioned government officials and state media against responding to a documentary which has not yet been broadcast by Al Jazeera, which pushed the first broadcast from March 2 to a later date.
On Monday, Charamba tweeted: “I would never have wasted bank time on a trailer!”