March 19, 2018 / 10:39 AM / 6 months ago

UPDATE 1-Mnangagwa says less than half of Zimbabwean funds stashed abroad returned

(Adds quotes, detail)

HARARE, March 19 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa said on Monday less than half of the money estimated to be stashed abroad by individuals and firms had been returned after the end of a 90-day ultimatum and warned that those who did not comply could be prosecuted.

Mnangagwa announced a three-month amnesty for the return of public funds illegally stashed abroad when he was sworn-in in November after a defacto military coup forced Robert Mugabe to resign.

The new president said in a statement that out of the $1.42 billion estimated to be illegally kept outside Zimbabwe, only $591 million had come back to the country.

The funds were in respect of export earnings that were kept offshore, payment of imports that never made it into the country and funds stashed in foreign banks “under spurious circumstances,” he said without elaborating.

A list published alongside the statement showed that out of 1,884 individuals and companies, firms in the mining and agriculture sector had the highest amount of export proceeds that were not returned to Zimbabwe.

Mnangagwa said the companies and individuals had ignored the amnesty and he had no other option but to publish their names “and, where necessary, to ensure that those responsible for such illict financial flows are brought to justice.” (Reporting by MacDonald Dzirutwe Editing by James Macharia)

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