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US Embassy Denies Freezing Zim Embassy Bank Account

Bruce Wharton
The United States Embassy in Zimbabwe has denied accusations by Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa that it was responsible for the freezing of the Zimbabwe Embassy's bank account that saw embassy staff failing to access their pay.

Chinamasa made the allegations Wednesday at a Zimbabwe International Business Conference running concurrently with the ongoing Zimbabwe International Trade Fair in Bulawayo which was also attended by U.S ambassador to Zimbabwe, Bruce Wharton.

The United States is exhibiting at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair after shunning the business showcase for a number of years because of frosty relations with Harare.

Chinamasa described the account freeze as a “landmine” planted to perpetuate economic sanctions against Zimbabwe.

However, in a written response to Studio 7, the US Embassy in Zimbabwe said the account which was later reactivated, was not the only one affected by the freeze but a number of foreign embassies and missions to the US.

The embassy said the decision by the unnamed financial institution to end its banking relationship with foreign diplomatic missions was unrelated to US-Zimbabwe policy.

“A bank's decision to exit the business of providing services to foreign missions does not violate U.S. obligations,” said the statement.

The embassy added that it provided guidance to a number of missions in Washington and New York to help identify a new bank or banks to provide services.

Political commentator, Charles Mangongera, also the policy and research director in the Movement for Democratic Change formation of Morgan Tsvangirai said the government’s failure to resurrect the economy is now hiding behind the sanctions excuse.

“There’s a bigger story here and the bigger story is that we have a government that that has failed to provide solutions to the economic challenges that the country is facing,” he said.