Who is Zimbabwe’s biggest looter? Mnangagwa names names

Emmerson Mnangagwa © Jekesai Njikizana

Diamond mining firms have been revealed by President Emmerson Mnangagwa as the biggest looters in Zimbabwe.

The president issued a three-month moratorium to alleged looters and extended it by two weeks. He warned that those who did not heed his call would face legal action.

Indications from the published list are that most funds were externalised to China with numerous Chinese retail and mining companies also dominating the list.

Category 1 – illicit financial flows externalised through non repatriation of export proceeds – has African Associated Mines ($62-million)‚ Marange Resources ($54.2m)‚ Canadile Miners ($31.3m)‚ Mbada ($14.7m) and Jinan ($11m) listed as the top looters.

But none of the three categories makes any mention of major politicians as was widely expected. Zimbabweans took to Twitter to say the list was “underwhelming”.

However‚ there are some notable revelations such as that of gospel-musician-cum-politician Elias Musakwa‚ who allegedly externalised US$900-million to Portugal.

Musakwa’s known business venture is record label Ngavaawone Records‚ which he bought with the late former air marshal‚ Josiah Tungamirai‚ in 2007 from Gramma Records. He once worked for the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) as a divisional head.

Category 2 – for funds externalised through payment of goods not received in Zimbabwe – is led by Ekusileni Medical Centre‚ a non operational hospital in the second largest city Bulawayo with US$3-million allegedly sent out of the country.

The specialist hospital was built by National Social Security Authority (NSSA)‚ but has never been operational since its inception 14 years ago. The hospital was part of President Mnangagwa’s 100-day pledge when he came into office through military assistance but nothing has been done to open it.

The last category with funds externalised to foreign banks in cash is dominated by bank deposits made in China. But the largest single sums were taken to Botswana with one of the alleged looters‚ businessman Farid Shahadat‚ said to have externalised US$1‚197‚080.

His case is already before the courts with allegations that between January 1 and April 30 last year he opened foreign bank accounts with Stanbic and Capital bank in Botswana.

He deposited a total of $1‚197‚580 into his three foreign bank accounts — Stanbic Bank (account number 906 000 257 2465)‚ Stanbic Bank (906 000 257 2504) and Capital Bank (000 370 300 8498).

Last Friday former president Robert Mugabe’s wife‚ Grace‚ widely speculated to be the main target of Mnangagwa’s call for funds to be returned‚ told Sunday Times she had nothing to hide.

“We are honest people. We have no money outside‚” she said.

But some legal experts‚ such as Tendai Biti‚ argue that government should amend the Reserve Bank Act because it has loopholes that will ensure that the alleged culprits will not be prosecuted.

“When you talk of externalisation‚ you are talking of getting foreign currency‚ that is money which is not the legal tender of that country outside Zimbabwe. So after 2009‚ we have to be careful now because the US dollar is now the legal tender. So if they try and arrest people (on externalisation charges) lawyers will have parties in town because of the lack of that clarity‚” Biti told The Zimbabwe Independent earlier this month. – TimesLive