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Zimbabwe Central Bank Shuts Out Zimplats Over Offshore Funds

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has directed local banks to stop dealing with Zimplats, the country’s largest platinum miner, for allegedly ignoring an order to repatriate funds from its offshore accounts.

Central bank governor Gideon Gono told parliament on Thursday the directive will only be lifted if the company appealed to Finance Minister Tendai Biti said neither Gono nor Zimplats have sought an audience with him.

“Due to failure by Zimplats to adhere with the provisions of this directive to close their offshore accounts and transfer their funds to a bank onshore as directed, exchange control has taken corrective administrative measures to enforce compliance,” the RBZ said in a letter to banks.

“In this regard, authorized dealers are hereby advised to stop processing and facilitating international or any cross border payments on behalf of Zimplats... (and) to stop processing and facilitating any exports, including the issuance of export documentation, electronic or otherwise on behalf of Zimplats.”

In March, Mines Minister Obert Mpofu said cabinet had resolved that all mining firms should bank locally after it emerged that billions of dollars in export earnings were being kept offshore.

Zimplats spokesperson Busi Chindove acknowledged Gono’s directive in a statement to VOA saying the move came as a surprise as the company was in the process of complying with the instruction.

London-based investment executive Lance Mambondiani, who works with at Coronation Financial, said Gono’s directive was improper.