The United States on Wednesday imposed sanctions on Kudakwashe Regimond Tagwirei, a prominent businessman who is also an advisor to president Mnangagwa. Tagwirei’s petroleum company, Sakunda Holdings was also blacklisted.
In a statement released by The United States Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) which enforces U.S. sanctions regulations through the Deputy Secretary Justin G. Muzinich, Tagwirei is accused of propagating corruption which has hampered economic developments in Zimbabwe over several years.
“Tagwirei and other Zimbabwean elites have derailed economic development and harmed the Zimbabwean people through corruption. The United States does not tolerate corruption and will promote accountability for perpetrators of public corruption,” said Muzinich.
United states government vowed to stamp out any corrupt activities propagated by any Zimbabwean politician.
“The United States supports the economic well-being of the Zimbabwean people and will target repressive and corrupt acts and graft by Zimbabwean politicians and their financiers,” said the statement.
Furthermore, Tangwirei is alleged to have captured the state by pampering government top officials with exquisite and topnotch items such as cars. This year vice President Chiwenga admitted that Tagwirrei bought him a top of the range vehicle.
“…. Tagwirei has provided high priced items, such as expensive cars, to senior-level Zimbabwean government officials. Tagwirei has used a combination of opaque business dealings and his ongoing relationship with President Mnangagwa to grow his business empire dramatically and rake in millions of U.S. dollars,” added the statement.
Sakunda Holdings was part of a Command Agriculture programme, in which the government failed to account for about US$3 billion according to a 2019 parliamentary inquiry.
Tagwirei is alleged to have recently brought a state-owned gold mine and sold buses to the government at double the price without going to tender. The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe in September froze accounts of Sakunda, after the company was among the list of companies which were said to be causing economic instability through money laundering and foreign exchange manipulation.
The government of Zimbabwe under president Mnangagwa made several attempts to see to it that U.S removes sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe, but U.S remains adamant on its position and further pointed out that it did not impose sanctions on Zimbabwe but on individuals involved in gross human rights violations undermining democracy.
“Targeted sanctions only restrict trade and travel for those who practice corruption, violate human rights, and undermine democratic institutions,” said the U.S embassy.
President Mnangagwa recently on Tuesday and on various occasions pointed out that one of the biggest impediment to economic developments are sanctions imposed by the U.S government.
“Dark forces both inside and outside have tampered with our growth and prosperity,” said Mnangagwa.
Currently 83 Zimbabwean individuals and 37 Zimbabwean entities are on the U.S sanctions blacklist.
Liberty Pazvakawambwa SADC News Correspondent