DEPUTY Finance Minister Terrence Mukupe yesterday said individuals and companies that externalised millions of dollars into safe havens are in panic mode and trying to curry favour with President Emmerson Mnangagwa to evade arrest.
“The President is inundated with calls from people who want to buy vehicles for the party (ZANU-PF) and make donations. The (ZANU-PF) conference is over; we don’t need your donations,” Mukupe told delegates attending an investment conference in Harare.
The Harare East legislator said it would be prudent for those who externalised funds “to do the right thing and return the money”.
Mnangagwa last week revealed that he has a list of companies and individuals who externalised money and assets during former president Robert Mugabe’s reign and warned he would not hesitate to expose those who defied his 90-day amnesty to repatriate the money by February next year.
“I have a list of those who took money out. I did not give the moratorium without knowledge. In March, when the moratorium ends, I will name and shame those who do not respond,” Mnangagwa told a recent ZANU-PF central committee meeting in Harare.
Statistics from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe show that the country lost over $1,8 billion in illicit financial inflows in the last two years, while over 280 Zimbabweans were last year cited in Panama papers for stashing funds outside the country.
Central bank governor John Mangudya has also said the repatriation of funds into Zimbabwe would vastly improve the country’s liquidity position.
“The amnesty granted by the President in respect of illegally-expatriated cash and assets is expected to increase cash availability once the funds start to flow into the economy.
“Government, through the Reserve Bank, is working on a similar amnesty to deal with cases of in-country hoarding of cash at homes. Hoarding of cash is counter-productive as it reduces the circulation of money. Hoarding has a cash-haemorrhaging effect on the economy,” he said.
Economist Ashok Chakravarti called for an investigation into the externalisation of funds, after it emerged that $5 billion could have been siphoned out of the country since dollarisation in 2009.
“There is need for an inquiry into what has been happening in the last few years. So many resources have gone out of the country. It cannot just be swept under the carpet. It has to be looked at carefully and addressed,” said Chakravarti.
Zimbabwe is currently experiencing acute cash shortages with government blaming unscrupulous individuals and corporates for not banking their money to allow for circulation.
Market analysts, however, blame excessive government expenditure, lack of confidence and low exports for the cash crisis.