OVER $590 MILLION RETURNED TO ZIMBABWE
President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s amnesty for illegal externalisation of money has shored up Zimbabwe’s foreign currency reserves – and has also exposed the impunity with which companies and individuals spirited away hard cash in recent years.
On March 19 this year, President Mnangagwa made public a list of 1 844 firms and people who externalised an estimated $1 billion, following the expiry of a three-month amnesty that ran from December 1, 2017.
Over $590 million has so far been recovered, and indications are that since March 19 this year, 55 people and companies that had taken more than $90 million out of the country – either as unaccounted for export receipts ($87,9 million) or undelivered imports ($4,8 million) – had approached the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to return to good legal standing.
All formal cross-border banking transactions are captured in a database maintained by the RBZ, giving monetary authorities up to the minute information on any money that leaves Zimbabwe.
It is this database that was used to compile the list and has helped the country recover close to $600 million in just three months.
However, some have remained obstinate.
One of them, information obtained by The Sunday Mail shows, is a mining company that handed over a total of $25 million in hard currency to its majority shareholder at Beitbridge Border Post.
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The businessman has refused to heed the amnesty and it is understood that law enforcement agencies are now handling that matter.
Another case is that of a prominent individual who was corruptly paid more than $8 million for “facilitating” an agri-equipment deal.
That individual is said to have now approached the RBZ to try and clear his name but his case has been complicated by the doubly illegal nature of the matter: the bribe and the externalisation.