The United States on Wednesday imposed sanctions on Zimbabwean Kudakwashe Tagwirei, an adviser to President Emmerson Mnangagwa, accusing the prominent businessman of being corrupt and helping support the government of Zimbabwe.
The U.S. Treasury Department in a statement said it blacklisted Tagwirei and Zimbabwe-based Sakunda Holdings, of which he is chief executive, accusing the businessman of using “opaque business dealings and his ongoing relationship with President Mnangagwa to grow his business empire dramatically and rake in millions of U.S. dollars.”
“Tagwirei and other Zimbabwean elites have derailed economic development and harmed the Zimbabwean people through corruption,” said Deputy Treasury Secretary Justin Muzinich.
“The United States supports the economic well-being of the Zimbabwean people and will target repressive and corrupt acts and graft by Zimbabwean politicians and their financiers,” he added.
The Treasury said the businessman has used his relationship with Zimbabwe officials to gain state contracts and receive favored access to hard currency, including U.S. dollars, and in turn has provided items, including expensive cars, to senior officials of the country.
Wednesday’s action freezes any U.S. assets of Tagwirei and Sakunda Holdings, and generally prohibits Americans from dealing with them.
Two years ago, Zimbabwean authorities launched a violent crackdown against citizens who were protesting flawed elections. That same government has yet to hold anyone accountable for the six protestors who were killed that day. To mark the anniversary of their deaths, today the United States is taking action to fight corruption in Zimbabwe.
Pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13469, the United States is imposing sanctions against Kudakwashe Regimond Tagwirei, a notoriously corrupt Zimbabwean businessman, for materially assisting senior Zimbabwean government officials involved in public corruption. Sakunda Holdings was also sanctioned for being owned or controlled by Tagwirei.
Tagwirei has longstanding ties to the ruling party in Zimbabwe and high-level governmental officials, including President Emmerson Mnangagwa and First Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, who were listed in the Annex to E.O. 13288 in March 2003. He has used his relationships to gain state contracts and receive favored access to hard currency, including U.S. dollars, especially in the Mnangagwa era.
Tagwirei is also the Chief Executive Officer of Zimbabwe-based Sakunda Holdings. Government audit reports prompted a 2019 parliamentary inquiry into whether public funds were misappropriated, revealing the government had failed to account for about $3 billion disbursed under the Command Agriculture program, a state farm subsidy championed by President Mnangagwa and largely financed by Sakunda Holdings.
The Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control concurrently removed today from the sanctions list a deceased person, John Bredenkamp, and associated entities who were previously designated under E.O. 13469. This action ensures the sanctions list remains up to date and targets actors who actively undermine democracy in Zimbabwe.
The United States supports a stable and democratic Zimbabwe. Our actions today demonstrate to the government and people of Zimbabwe that the United States does not tolerate public corruption and will promote accountability for perpetrators of public corruption.
OFFICE OF FOREIGN ASSETS CONTROL
Specially Designated Nationals List Update
The following individual has been added to OFAC’s SDN List:
TAGWIREI, Kudakwashe Regimond (a.k.a. TAGWIREI, Kuda), 4 Luna Road, Borrowdale, Harare, Zimbabwe; DOB 12 Feb 1969; POB Shurugwi, Zimbabwe; nationality Zimbabwe; alt. nationality South Africa; Gender Male; Passport FN920256 (Zimbabwe) issued 02 Jul 2019 expires 01 Jul 2029; National ID No. 29135894Z66 (Zimbabwe) (individual) [ZIMBABWE].
The following entity has been added to OFAC’s SDN List:
SAKUNDA HOLDINGS (a.k.a. SAKUNDA HOLDINGS PRIVATE LIMITED), Samora Machel Avenue No. 45 (between J. Nyerere Way and L. Takawira Street), 4th, 15th, 16th, and 17th Floors, Century Towers, Harare, Zimbabwe; Organization Established Date 2005 [ZIMBABWE] (Linked To: TAGWIREI, Kudakwashe Regimond).