Zimbabwe offers amnesty for funds stashed abroad

Harare: Zimbabwe’s new president Emmerson Mnangagwa has offered a three-month amnesty to individuals and corporates to return their money stashed away abroad or face arrest and prosecution.

It is the first step towards recovery of “illegally externalised funds”, he said. Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe had reported last year that $1.8 billion had been “externalised” or moved abroad through such malpractices which Mnangagwa on Tuesday described as a very serious economic crime against Zimbabweans.

The country faces foreign currency crunch and the return of money stashed away in banks abroad and shell companies in tax havens will greatly boost Zimbabwe’s economy.

Corruption was rampant under former president Robert Mgabe’s 37 years of rule and people hope the new leader will crack the whip on this menace.

The first positive sign in this direction came when former finance minister Ignatius Chombo was arrested and charged with corruption this week. During his inaugural, Mnangagwa promised to fight corruption, bring in foreign funds and put the economy on back on track. To achieve these, he is planning to form a leaner and more efficient cabinet.