US removes ZimRe from sanctions list

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 list.

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 markets.”

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 occurred.”

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 delisting.

“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.

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.