HARARE: Zimbabwe’s new president on Tuesday gave a three-month ultimatum for the return of funds siphoned out of the country by individuals and corporations, as he moves to stem graft and revive the moribund economy.
“The government of Zimbabwe is gazetting a three-month moratorium within which those involved in the malpractice can bring back the funds and assets, with no questions being asked or charges preferred against them,” Emmerson Mnangagwa said in a statement.
The amnesty period will run from December 1.
“Upon expiry of the three-month window, the government will proceed to effect arrest of all those who would not have complied with this directive and will ensure that they are prosecuted in terms of the country’s laws,” he said.
Mnangagwa, who took over from long ruling Robert Mugabe last week after a military intervention, said the operation had discovered that huge funds were illegally externalised.
The military operation which saw tanks rolling down the street and culminated in Mugabe’s resignation, helped unearth “cases where huge sums of money and other assets were illegally externalised by certain individuals and corporates,” he said.
“Such malpractices constitute a very serious economic crime against the people of Zimbabwe which the government of Zimbabwe will never condone.”
Zimbabwe is facing a perennial liquidity crunch which has worsened in recent months leaving banks with little or no cash.
Mnangagwa, 75, was sworn-in last Friday vowing to fight corruption, protect foreign investment and create jobs to help re-build the troubled economy.