Zimbabwe list of externalisers includes Panama papers shell companies


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Zimbabwe published a list of more than 1 800 individuals and companies last week that the government said illegally transferred money abroad, including several who appear in the Panama Papers.

The list was the result of a three-month amnesty that allowed companies and individuals to return money to the country without prosecution. The list named those who had not done so.

In announcing the results, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said that $826 million – more than half of an estimated $1.42 billion stashed outside Zimbabwe – was not returned during the 90-day amnesty period.

“The authorities have no other recourse to cause these entities and individuals to respond, other than to publicize the names of the entities and individuals so that the concerned parties take heed of the importance of good corporate governance,” Mnangagwa said in a statement.

Those on the list who can prove they have declared the assets may still approach the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to have their names removed, the statement added. The government-owned bank is responsible for monitoring Zimbabwe’s foreign financial flows.

Five mining companies were the biggest culprits, according to the list, with two firms, African Associated Mines and Marange Resources, accused of not returning $62 million and $54 million, respectively.

Others holding assets abroad included cargo, cotton, tobacco and refrigeration companies and the Archdiocese of Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital, which allegedly failed to account for more than $10 000. Chinese business owners were strongly represented.

One former finance minister criticized the decision to publish names as “defamatory” and called it a “Mickey Mouse list.” The BBC reported that a representative from China’s embassy in Zimbabwe rejected the list as lacking credibility.

At least three companies and business owners in Zimbabwe named on the list also showed up in the Panama Papers, ICIJ has found. But their offshore assets have not been previously reported in detail.

Harare-born businessman Derek Kitchen, who founded a food and beverage supply company in the 1970s, moved more than half a million dollars out of Zimbabwe “in cash or under spurious transactions,” according to the government.

Kitchen owned SK Cheminvest Ltd., a company registered in the British Virgin Islands in 2010, according to the Panama Papers.

The company provided “consultancy services” to farmers in Zimbabwe and South Africa, according to emails sent between a Mauritius-based management company and Mossack Fonseca, the offshore law firm that helped set up SK Cheminvest Ltd. and whose files formed the basis of the Panama Papers investigation.

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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