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Companies dismiss externalisation claims

SOME companies making the top 10 list of firms and individuals accused by President Emmerson Mnangagwa of externalising US$1,3 billion have dismissed the allegations, while others say government published the list without consulting them.

By Hazel Ndebele/Melody Chikono

Other companies said they were engaging government over the allegations when the list was published. Some of the company files are missing from the company registry.

Following the expiry of his 104-day moratorium, Mnangagwa released a list dominated by Chinese nationals, retail and mining companies who allegedly externalised funds. The state had stakes in mining companies listed among looting companies including diamond mining firms Anjin, Jinan and Mbada Diamonds while Marange Resources is wholly-owned by government.

Mnangagwa said the bulk of the money was externalised through non-repatriation of export proceeds, payment for goods not received in Zimbabwe or funds externalised to foreign banks in cash or under spurious transactions.

The top 10 companies are African Associated Mines, which allegedly externalised US$62 million, Marange Resources, Canadile Miners, Mbada Diamonds, Jinan Mining, Gold Driven Tobacco, Insing Investments, Allied Timbers Zimbabwe, Pacific Cigarette Company, and PT Royal Ostrindo Zimbabwe.

A member of the Chinese business delegation said the list was not credible as some companies repatriated funds as dividends while others imported goods but were yet to be have their CD1 forms cleared.

“When investors come into any country, they come solely for business, therefore they should be allowed to take home their profits. But there was no consultation; the government should have engaged the companies, including the diamond mining companies, before publishing the list,” said the official.

Pacific, which rebranded to Savanna Tobacco, said the externalisation matter dates back to 2015 and they have been engaging government over the matter which remains unresolved.

The company’s governance and legal advisor Itai Gift Watinaye said: “We appreciate government’s desire to bring sanity to the economy and encourage better corporate governance. The regulator has always had an open door approach with us and we appreciate this.

“We have been engaging with the regulator, our bankers and the Interfin liquidator on the administrative issues surrounding this matter which emanates from three years ago with the placing of Interfin Bank under liquidation. We are confident that this administrative issue will be addressed in the short term,” Watinaye said.
The company was accused of externalising US$4,1 million.

Allied Timbers, accused of externalising US$4,3 million, would neither confirm nor deny the siphoning claims, but said it has been in talks with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe for a long time.

“Allied Timbers Zimbabwe (Pvt) Ltd has been in constant contact with the RBZ long before the announcement of the deadline issued by His Excellency, President Emmerson Mnangagwa. It is a matter which has been put to the attention of the RBZ who are aware of issues surrounding that matter since 2012,” Allied Timbers spokesperson Veronica Gutu said in emailed responses.

“It is also a matter which we are made to understand is covered in the forensic audit report done by KPMG. The auditor-general and our parent ministry are also handling the issue.”

Appearing before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy on Monday, Mbada director David Kassel described the externalisation allegations as “absolute nonsense”.

African Associated Mines, a subsidiary of a government-owned company SMM Holdings Ltd (SMM), is at the top of the list of externalisers at US$62 million.

Files of some of the top companies implicated by Mnangagwa are missing from the company registry. These include Gold Driven Tobacco, Insing Investments and PT Royal Ostrindo Zimbabwe.

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