Zimbabwe mining & banking companies on US sanctions list
By Violet Gonda
28 July 2008
Last Friday the United States broadened sanctions against members of the Mugabe regime and its supporters. 17 entities, several Zimbabwean parastatals and one individual were designated by the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control for contributing to the “undermining of democratic processes and institutions in Zimbabwe.” The US said these entities, mainly from the banking and mining industries, have been used to illegally siphon revenue and foreign exchange from the Zimbabwean people.
The US joined the European Union, who broadened smart sanctions against 37 more individuals and, for the first time, four companies linked to the regime. Also, for the first time, two Zimpapers journalists, Caesar Zvayi and Munyaradzi Huni, were included on the list.
The US targeted sanctions freezes the assets of the named individuals and entities, and US nationals are prohibited from conducting financial and foreign transactions with them.
However the South African government condemned the measures describing them as “interference” in Zimbabwe’s affairs. Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad told a news conference that it was difficult to understand the objectives of the new sanctions at a time when the political parties are negotiating a way forward. South Africam, which is facilitating the talks between ZANU PF and the two MDC formations, is viewed as a long-time ally of the Mugabe regime.
But US President George Bush said the smart sanctions were there to put pressure on the ZANU PF elite, which continues with a violent campaign against opponents and has not lifted the ban on humanitarian aid.
Bush has authorised an additional US$2.5million in aid to assist refugees and asylum seekers displaced by the political violence. He said; "We will also continue our efforts to provide food and health assistance as part of our commitment to help the people of Zimbabwe in their time of greatest need."
Below is the list of the new companies and entities added to the sanctions list by the US Treasury Department:
The Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ), the sole marketing and export agent for all minerals, except gold and silver, mined in Zimbabwe;
The Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC), involved in investment in the mining industry in Zimbabwe, and in planning, coordinating and implementing mining projects on behalf of the Government of Zimbabwe;
The Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company (ZISCO), Zimbabwe's largest steel works;
The Agricultural Development Bank of Zimbabwe (Agribank), a commercial bank owned by the Government of Zimbabwe;
The Industrial Development Corporation of Zimbabwe Ltd, a state-owned enterprise that owns a large number of companies operating in the industrial sector, including the chemical, clothing and textiles, mineral processing, and motor and transport sectors;
The Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe, a financing entity;
Zimre Holdings Limited, an investment and reinsurance entity;
ZB Financial Holdings Limited, a holding company for a group of companies involved in commercial and merchant banking;
And 4 major subsidiaries of ZB Financial Holdings Limited: ZB Bank Limited (Zimbank), ZB Holdings Limited, Intermarket Holdings Limited, and Scotfin Limited.
OFAC also designated Thamer Bin Saeed Ahmed Al-Shanfari, an Omani national with close ties to the Mugabe regime, together with his company, Oryx Natural Resources.
The US statement said Al-Shanfari uses his company to enable Mugabe and his senior officials to maintain access to, and derive personal benefit from, various mining ventures in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
A commercial arm of the Zimbabwean army, OSLEG ( Operation Sovereign Legitimacy), with interests in the DRC was also added to the sanctions list. It’s reported that activities of OSLEG and Al-Shanfari's Oryx Natural Resources Robert Mugabe and his senior officials.
Companies owned by senior ZANU PF cronies already on the sanctions list were designated. These include:
Divine Homes, a property company owned by David Chapfika, the Deputy Minister of Agriculture;
COMOIL (Pvt) Ltd., a petroleum importing company, owned by Saviour Kasukuwere, Deputy Minister of Youth Development and Employment Creation;
Famba Safaris, a registered Zimbabwean safari operator, whose Director and major shareholder is Webster Shamu, the Minister of State for Policy Implementation.