Amnesty on Illegally Externalised Funds and Assets: An Assessment of Zimbabwe’s Administrative and Legal Efforts to Combat Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs).

Amnesty on Illegally Externalised Funds and Assets: An Assessment of Zimbabwe

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Create Date October 25, 2018
Last Updated October 25, 2018
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In November 2017, the Government of Zimbabwe proclaimed that over US$1.3 billion had been externalised from Zimbabwe by individuals and companies. The Zimbabwean Government then further introduced a moratorium for a period of three (3) months, providing for an amnesty from prosecution to businesses and individuals that would have returned the externalised funds within the stipulated period. The government promised to prosecute, name and shame all those that would have failed to heed its call within the amnesty period. Over 1,166 cases involving externalisation by
both individuals and companies had been identified by Government.

st On the 1 of December 2018, Government amended the Exchange Control Act and announced administrative measures by the RBZ to implement an amnesty on repatriation of illegally expatriated foreign exchange and assets was made pursuant to the Presidential Powers (Temporary) Measures Regulations SI 145 of 2017. The measures provided an amnesty to all persons who illegally expatriated foreign exchange and assets including smuggling of gold and other precious minerals and require them to declare the same to the RBZ on a “no questions asked basis”. What is therefore vital is to assess the implications of the amnesty as it relates to smuggling of gold and other precious minerals, undervaluation and generally its implications on the fight against illicit financial flows (IFFs) and corruption in Zimbabwe.

 

The proposed publication of the list of externalizers with the view of naming and shamming of perpetrators was a viewed by the public as a significant step for Zimbabwe. This development came at a time of severe cash challenges in Zimbabwe. As the deadline for the amnesty period approached, public expectations were buoyed. Even a common pensioner who was failing to access cash from the bank was optimistic that this move could end the nightmare of sleeping at a bank queue and only to withdraw a paltry $20 in bond coins. There was also strong public scepticism on the other hand from certain sections of the society that doubted that the so-called “new government with old faces” could live up to the promise of genuinely exposing and fighting corruption and externalisation.

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