US removes ZimRe from sanctions list

Source: US removes ZimRe from sanctions list – DailyNews Live January 14, 2017

Gift Phiri

HARARE – The United States yesterday removed ZimRe Holdings Limited – a
holding firm of companies in general insurance, life and pensions, and
agro-industries – from the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of
Foreign Assets Control (Ofac) sanctions list.

ZimRe – engaged reinsurance, reassurance, short term insurance and
property – was barred from doing business with US companies since July 25,
2008, following the signing of an executive Order by ex-US President
George Bush that expanded the sanctions list to include companies
registered in Zimbabwe perceived to be owned or controlled by the
government of Zimbabwe.

Ofac reported its delisting of ZimRe on its website yesterday after the
group submitted a petition for removal in late 2016.

President Robert Mugabe and First Lady Grace remained on the sanctions

The US started imposing targeted sanctions on 98 Zimbabwean individuals
and 68 entities – mostly farms and legal entities owned by the 98
individuals – in 2003.

Sanctions included asset seizures and travel bans.

Ofac said the sanctions were implemented “as a result of the actions and
policies of certain members of the government of Zimbabwe and other
persons undermining democratic institutions and processes in Zimbabwe”.

ZimRe claimed the embargo had hampered efforts to attract investors and
obtain international credit lines.

The group’s assets including cash were blocked and Ofac regularly
intercepted ZimRe’s cash remittances without notice.

The removal from the list will come as a relief to ZimRe.

“ZimRe appreciates Ofac’s quick action and deletion of ZimRe from Ofac’s
list of Specially Designated Nationals (SDNs). This is a positive start to
2017, and ZimRe looks forward to continuing to grow its business in 2017
and beyond,” ZimRe’s CEO, Stanley Kudenga said yesterday.

“This is a very significant milestone for the group, which heralds a new
chapter for the expansive and diversified investment group.

“It means that we have to re-strategize from a number of perspectives in
view of this key development.

“It also means that we will be able to expand our operations, trade freely
and compete on an even playing field in both the domestic and regional

Kudenga paid tribute to customers and business partners who stood with and
continued to support the group “even in that dark era of its history.”

He also paid tribute to the US attorneys “who handled the case
professionally” and the local US Embassy and other US government agencies,
“without whose support and recommendations, the delisting would not have

He also paid tribute to the ZimRe board and shareholders for their support
and guidance in the handling of the legal process leading to the

“The sanctions also demonstrated the resilience of the group in the face
of challenges,” he said.

Two previously sanctioned firms, ZB Financial Holdings Limited and
Industrial Development Corporation of Zimbabwe (IDC) – a government-owned
entity – was also removed from the embargo in October.

The moves comes as cash-strapped Zimbabwe’s Finance ministry has been
forced to delay pay for civil servants – including doctors and the
military – and authorities have imposed strict limits on the amount that
ordinary people can withdraw from bank accounts.

Despite the sanctions, there is no US bilateral trade embargo against
Zimbabwe, and the US has not cut-off aid to Zimbabwe.