Zim re-engagement efforts continue to bear fruits

By Staff Reporter

Zimbabwe’s re-engagement efforts especially with Western countries continue to bear fruits as the country’s biggest bank; CBZ has been removed from the United States of America (USA) sanctions list.

CBZ Bank was facing a US$385 million fine under the United States' Zimbabwe sanctions regime after the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) decided only to caution the bank.

The fine was allegedly for thousands of financial transactions done on behalf of ZB Bank, when it was under economic sanctions imposed by the US.

Analysts contend that the removal of CBZ bank from the sanctions list would cushion the productive sector as the bank would be able to avail long term and cheaper loans to key sectors such as mining, agriculture and manufacturing.

These sectors are reeling from under funding with government doing all it can to revive these sectors following years of non-recapitalization triggered by sanctions.

In a warning letter to CBZ Bank OFAC said CBZ should not flout United States of America's S541.201 of the Zimbabwe sanctions regulations again.

“After considering all relevant information in its possession as the General Factor Affecting Administrative Action set forth in the Economic Sanctions Enforcement Guidelines, OFAC has made a determination to issue this cautionary letter in response to these apparent violations.

“We urge CBZ to use greater caution to ensure that it does not process transactions in violation of the sanctions programmes administered by OFAC,” reads part of the letter.

OFAC said this cautionary letter represented a final enforcement response to the above referenced apparent violations.

“However, it does not preclude OFAC from taking future enforcement action, should new or additional information warrant renewed attention. This letter does not constitute a final urgency determination as to whether a violation has occurred. CBZ OFAC compliance history will be factored into any matter that comes to our attention in the future, including an apparent violation,” reads the letter.

Zimbabwe and SADC are calling for the removal of any form of illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe as they are hindering economic growth of the country for almost two decades.

The removal of sanctions would permit Zimbabwe to freely trade on the international market, lure foreign direct investment and get financial assistance from global financiers.