Govt fears US backlash over illicit financial transactions

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ZIMBABWE fears that money laundering, externalisation, illicit financial flows and lax anti-terrorism funding laws could prompt the United States to bar the country from using the greenback as its anchor currency, resulting in economic turmoil, it has been established.

By Bernard Mpofu

This comes as government publicists have moved to claim that Washington is plotting to sabotage Zimbabwe by withdrawing the widely used US dollar from the domestic market.

Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa last Thursday said international banks were tightening the screws on Zimbabwe, terminating relationships with local financial institutions as the economy battles a biting cash crunch that has paralysed business.

“…This is a worrying trend as it undermines global payments systems thereby hindering free flow of international trade and financial transactions. It is a matter that ESAAMLG (Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group) member states are going to take it up with a view to restoring international correspondent bank relationships,” he said during the presentation of the Mid-Year Fiscal Policy Review.

Official sources say the US is unhappy with Zimbabwe’s poor anti-terrorism and illicit financial flow enforcement mechanisms which are exacerbated by porous borders. Last year, the Bank of America and Standard Chartered stopped supplying greenbacks to Angolan banks over concerns about lax regulation.

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