The United States Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has slapped President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s son Emmerson Junior and Sakunda Holdings director Kudakwashe Tagwirei’s wife Sandra Mpunga with sanctions.
Also hit with sanctions are Sakunda Holdings chief marketing and public relations officer Nqobile Magwizi and Obey Chimuka, a business partner of Tagwirei.
The sanctions freeze the assets of those designated and generally bars Americans from engaging in business dealings with them.
In a statement, the U.S. Department of the Treasury (Office of Public Affairs) said the Zimbabwe sanctions program targets human rights abusers and those who undermine democratic processes or facilitate corruption.
“We urge the Zimbabwean government to take meaningful steps towards creating a peaceful, prosperous, and politically vibrant Zimbabwe, and to address the root causes of many of Zimbabwe’s ills: corrupt elites and their abuse of the country’s institutions for their personal benefit,” said Under Secretary of the Treasury Brian E. Nelson.
He added “The goal of sanctions is behavior change. Today’s actions demonstrate our support for a transparent and prosperous Zimbabwe.”
Tagwirei was hit with sanctions in August 2020 for having materially sponsored, or provided financial, material and services in support of, the Government of Zimbabwe.
Two entities owned by Chimuka, Fossil Contracting and agricultural chemical company Fossil Agro. Both firms were also sanctioned in connection to Tagwirei and his business.
Magwizi has served as the chief marketing and public relations officer of Sakunda as well as Mpunga’s executive assistant.
Emmerson Mnangagwa, Jr. was said to be in charge of the president’s business interests related to Tagwirei.
OFAC also determined that seventeen individuals being removed from the SDN list no longer undermine Zimbabwe’s democratic processes and institutions or meet any of the other criteria for designation under OFAC’s Zimbabwe sanctions program.
Each year, the U.S. Government removes hundreds of individuals and entities from the SDN List and the removals, the department said are based on a thorough review in order to maintain the integrity of U.S. sanctions.
The latest wave of sanctions is a blow to the country’s much publicised re-engagement efforts by the Government following years of international isolation on allegations of human rights abuses and undermining democratic principles.