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US Sanctions Zimbabwe President for Diamond Smuggling

March 10, 2024  |  Leah Meirovich
President Emmerson Mnangagwa US sanctions 1280 USED 031024

The US has sanctioned Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa for corruption in connection with gold and diamond smuggling, as well as human-rights abuses.

The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has accused Mnangagwa of “providing a protective shield” to gold- and diamond-smuggling networks that operate in Zimbabwe, it said last week. He is also accused of directing Zimbabwean officials to “facilitate the sale of gold and diamonds in illicit markets” and taking “bribes in exchange for his services.”

The US has also restricted Mnangagwa for being a leader or official of entity, including any government entity, that has “engaged in, or whose members have engaged in, serious human-rights abuses,” OFAC explained.

“[The Zimbabwe president is] a foreign person who is a current or former government official, or a person acting for or on behalf of such an official, who is responsible for or complicit in, or has directly or indirectly engaged in, corruption, including the misappropriation of state assets, the expropriation of private assets for personal gain, corruption related to government contracts or the extraction of natural resources, or bribery,” OFAC stated.

OFAC issued the new sanctions after US President Joe Biden signed an executive order that terminated Zimbabwe’s national emergency and revoked sanctions on the entire country, so as not to target its citizens.

“The US remains deeply concerned about democratic backsliding, human-rights abuses, and government corruption in Zimbabwe,” said Wally Adeyemo, deputy secretary of the treasury. “The changes we are making today are intended to make clear what has always been true: Our sanctions are not intended to target the people of Zimbabwe. Today we are refocusing our sanctions on clear and specific targets.”

Main image: Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa delivering his inaugural speech in Harare in 2017. (Shutterstock)

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President Emmerson Mnangagwa US sanctions 1280 USED 031024 US Sanctions Zimbabwe President for Diamond Smuggling

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