UK slaps Tagwirei with sanctions

July 22, 2021

Brenna Matendere

The United Kingdom (UK) today (Thursday) put Kudakwashe Regimond Tagwirei, a Zimbabwean business tycoon and ally of President Emmerson Mnangagwa, under sanctions for alleged corruption.

The UK foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, announced his country’s decision to place Tagwirei under his country’s global anti-corruption sanctions regime—together with four other high profile individuals from Equatorial Guinea, Venezuela and Iran—in a statement that was run by the British embassy in Harare in a tweet.

Tagwirei is already on US and European Union sanctions.

According to the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office: “The new sanctions announced today target five individuals involved in serious corruption.”

Tagwirei was targeted for “profiting from misappropriation of property when his company, Sakunda Holdings, redeemed government of Zimbabwe treasury bills at up to ten times their official value”.

This is in relation to the command agriculture scheme in which Sakunda was accused of profiteering from the treasury bills that were offered for the financing of the multi-billion farming scheme.

Sakunda was also accused of profiteering from the scheme by inflating prices of inputs and fuel used in the command agriculture scheme.

Recently, an independent investigative unit that follows dirty money, The Sentry, produced a dossier that revealed Tagwirei’s multi-billion web of companies that was set up post the 2017 military coup using offshore accounts and alleged deceit.

Tagwirei was exposed as the real owner of the companies even though there have been intricate attempts to hide his involvement.

The designation of Tagwirei means he will be restricted from travelling to the UK, while companies linked to him will not be able to do any business with British commercial and financial entities.

“His (Tagwirei’s) actions (relating to the treasury bills) accelerated the deflation of Zimbabwe’s currency, increasing the price of essentials such as food for Zimbabwean citizens,” noted Raab.

Tagwirei owns majority shares in mines which include Trojan Nickel Mine, Freda Rebecca Gold Mine,  Zimalloys Ferro Chrome, Redwing Gold Mine, Jena Mines, Sabi Gold Mine, Elvington and Golden Kopje Mine. 

Other companies linked to him are Landela which was used by government to import Zimbabwe United Passengers Company (ZUPCO) buses, Kuvimba Mining House, Great Dyke Investments and Sotic International Limited which is headquartered in Mauritius.

Posting on his Twitter handle, UK lawmaker, James Duddridge said: “The UK will not tolerate corrupt individuals depriving their fellow citizens of vital resources for personal gain.”

In addition to Tagwirei, the UK slapped sanctions on Teodoro Obiang Mangue, the Equatorial Guinea vice president and son of that country’s long-time ruler, Obiang Nguema Mbasogo.

He was targeted “for his involvement in the appropriation of state funds into his own personal bank accounts, corrupt contracting arrangements and soliciting bribes, to fund lavish lifestyle inconsistent with his official salary as a government minister.”

He allegedly purchased a US$100 million mansion in Paris and a US$38 million private jet.

Also included on the updated sanctions list are Alex Nain Saab Moran and Alvaro Enrique Pulido Vargas from Venezuela “for exploiting two of Venezuela’s public programmes which were set up to supply poor Venezuelans with affordable foodstuffs and housing”.

Iranian Nawfal Hammadi Al-Sultan, as governor of Nineveh province, allegedly misappropriated public funds meant for civilians and improperly awarded contracts. He is currently serving a five-year jail term for offences related to corruption.

The five bring to 27, the number of individuals designated under the UK’s global anti-corruption sanctions programme.

Over 2 percent of the global gross domestic product is lost to corruption annually, according to the UK foreign office.

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