US hits Mnangagwa’s son with sanctions on eve of Africa Summit; Emmerson Jr said to be in charge of father’s business interests and main link to Tagwirei

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By Associated Press

The United States slapped sanctions on the son of Zimbabwe’s president and three others for alleged involvement in corruption Monday, one day before President Joe Biden hosts a summit with African leaders in Washington.

The US Treasury Department sanctioned Emmerson Mnangagwa Jr, son of Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa, for his involvement with Kudakwashe Tagwirei and his company, Sakunda Holdings, which were singled out for sanctions related to alleged corruption and human rights violations in 2020.

The Treasury also placed Tagwirei’s wife Sandra Mpunga, Nqobile Magwizi, and Obey Chimuka, and two companies controlled by Chumuka, Fossil Agro and Fossil Contracting, for their involvement with Sakunda.

Emmerson Mnangagwa Jr with his father

It said Tagwirei has been granted favorable state contracts and special access to hard currency, and “in turn… provided high priced items such as expensive cars to senior-level Zimbabwean government officials.”

“Since former Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe’s 2017 departure, Tagwirei 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 US dollars,” it said.

Mpunga is executive director of Sakunda and Magwizi is chief marketing officer, according to Treasury.

It said Chimuka is close to Tagwirei and has benefitted from large government program contracts, also involving Sakunda, which “failed to account for billions of dollars in disbursements.”

Meanwhile Mnangagwa Jr. “has been in charge of the president’s business interests related to Tagwirei,” according to the Treasury.

The sanctions announcement came one day before Biden hosts nearly 50 heads of state from the African continent for the US-Africa Leaders summit.

President Mnangagwa is not planning to attend; instead, Zimbabwe’s Foreign Minister Frederick Shava will represent the country, according to a list of expected attendees.

Mnangagwa came to power in 2017 after generals forced long-time ruler Mugabe to resign.