Broke Zim sells US embassy April 1, 2014 NewsDay by Everson Mushava
Foreign Affairs permanent secretary Joey Bimha told NewsDay yesterday that the Zimbabwean government had decided to sell the building in order to purchase a smaller property that corresponds with its leaner staff complement.
“We intend to sell that one and buy another one,” Bimha said.
“The building is too big. We bought it when we had a bigger staff complement. At the moment, we have a small staff complement and it is becoming expensive to maintain the whole building when it is not fully utilised.”
Bimha said government had engaged an estate agency to value the property, carry out the transactions and scout for a smaller building.
Efforts to get details of the value of the property from Hollywood Real Estate Agencies, the company that installed a billboard inviting bids for the sale of the building, were fruitless as the company representatives were not forthcoming with answers.
Zimbabwe has two embassies in the US, one in DC and another in New York.The country has 40 embassies and five consulates around the globe.
The cash-strapped government has been struggling to pay its embassy staff in various countries.
In February, Zimbabwe’s foreign missions were saddled with a $13 million debt. Treasury did not disburse money to the foreign missions from the 2013 National Budget.
Of the $63,2 million allocated to embassies last year, only $35,2 million was disbursed. The Parliamentary Portifolio Committee on Foreign Affairs, headed by former envoy Amos Midzi, recently told Parliament that most of the money was absorbed by debts.