Churches externalise cash from Zimbabwe

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PROMINENT churches – among them the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Zaoga and United Methodist Church – have been named among organisations that have externalised large sums of money from Zimbabwe in recent years.

Gospel musician Elias Musakwa has also been unmasked for externalising US$9 million to Portugal.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa last week exposed organisations and individuals who ignored his three-month amnesty to return improperly externalised money.

The churches are classified under “Funds externalised through payment of goods not received in Zimbabwe”.

SDA Harare City Centre and the SDA Church’s East Zimbabwe Conference failed to repatriate US$223 208 and US$13 408 respectively.

Zaoga was named for externalising US$11 229, the Archdiocese of Harare (US$10 693), Family of God (US$11 410) and the United Methodist Dental Clinic (US$23 117). Others are The Redeemed House of God (US$16 567), Believers Kingdom Light Ministries (US$16 830) and Mathias and Mildred Ministries (US$35 846).

The churches were named alongside organisations and individuals who failed to return about US$900 million.

On December 1, 2017, President Mnangagwa gave a three-month amnesty for people to return the money. When that window closed, he published a list of 1 844 defiant entities and individuals, most of them in the mining, agriculture, manufacturing and freight sectors.

Of the US$1,4 billion that was externalised, US$591,1 million was recovered and US$826,5 million is outstanding.

President Mnangagwa said those who failed to repatriate the externalised money could face prosecution.

He said the named companies and individuals ignored and/or neglected to heed the amnesty, by failing to account for funds outside Zimbabwe in respect of unrepatriated export proceeds, payments for imports not received, money transferred to foreign banks as cash or under spurious circumstances.

“It Is against this background that the authorities have no other recourse to cause these entities and individuals to respond, other than to publicise the names of the entities and individuals so that the concerned parties take heed of the importance of good corporate governance and the legal obligations of citizenry and, where necessary to ensure that those responsible for such illicit financial flows are brought to justice,” said President Mnangagwa. – Sunday Mail