Finance

Zim loses US$4.5bn

PHILLIMON MHLANGA

Zimbabwe could have lost a cumulative US$4.5bn between 2014 and 2018 through money laundering and terrorist financing, a new report shows.

This represents an annual average loss of US$900m, which is half of US$1.8bn reported in the last national risk assessment for Zimbabwe in 2015. 

The reduction was attributed to improved gold collection strategies from six tonnes to 24 tonnes per annum, the improved security arrangements in Chiadzwa diamond area and more actively by the Minerals and Border Control Unit.

Lost revenue through laundering has far-reaching consequences, hindering government’s ability to fund critical social and infrastructure development programmes.

The country’s risk assessment report was launched Monday by the Finance and Economic Development Minister, Mthuli Ncube in the capital.

The report was done by the National task force chaired by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) director in the financial intelligence unit, Mirirai Chiremba. The World Bank and the Italian government gave technical and financial support. The assessment took a year to complete from February 2019 to January 2020.

“The national money laundering threat for Zimbabwe was assessed to be medium, with the main money laundering major predicate offences generating proceeds being fraud, contravention of the customs and excise Act, contravention of the gold trade Act, corruption and contravention of the Income Tax Act.

The assessed value of threat proceeds for the period under review is estimated to be about US$4.5bn in total,” the report said.

RBZ governor John Mangudya said Zimbabwe was doing as country as it is now rated medium to low.

“We are one of the few countries to complete the second assessment report. Many countries are still struggling to complete the first report. Although we still have a lot of work in combating money laundering, the report promotes the integrity of Zimbabwe’s financial system,” Mangudya said.

Ncube said the report comes at a critical time when the country is in transition.

“The assessment is important in order to maintain a healthy economy. We still have threats because we are living in a world where terrorism has become a real threat. But, we now need to counter these,” he said.

The Anti-money laundering law was promulgated recently. This will help fight externalisation of funds.

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