PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government has backtracked on its initial intention to expose individuals involved in real financial outflows and is now protecting the real criminals, the opposition MDC- T has said.
Mnangagwa this Monday released a list of alleged looters who defied his order to return funds and assets externalised from the country within three months.
Publication of the list was in line with his vow to name and shame those who defied his ultimatum.
However, MDC-T secretary for finance and economic affairs Tapiwa Mashakada said the list of released by Mnangagwa did not represent the “real illicit flows by definition”.
Mashakada said the list only comprised companies which had not acquitted export forms to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ).
“By publishing a list dominated by companies, government is simply posturing and actually camouflaging and protecting real culprits who are the big wigs in Zanu PF,” he said.
The government was being dishonest by publishing names of companies in official export business with a view to seek cheap political capital.
“Where was the Reserve Bank when exporters were not acquitting their export declaration forms?
The fact that these companies are known means that the externalisation was known and, therefore, not illicit,” said Mashakada.
The opposition politician said the published companies were exercising due diligence when they kept their money offshore as there was lack of confidence in the country’s banking sector.
“It is also common cause that nostro balances at the Reserve Bank are depleted and most companies are having to resort to the parallel market to get foreign currency to finance imports at high premium” he said.
Mnangagwa said companies and individuals had returned $591 million in funds illegally stashed abroad after a 90-day amnesty to bring back the money expired last week, but $827 million was still outstanding.
His list does not include the names of any high-ranking senior Zimbabwean politicians, who many believe are likely to have siphoned off money.
Among some of the names on this list are those firms that used to mine diamonds in the east of the country, like Mbada Diamonds and Jinan Mining.
Human rights organisations have, in the past, linked these and other diamond firms to Zimbabwe’s military and intelligence services.