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Zimbabwe's Leader Calls Out Those Stashing Millions of Dollars Overseas

FILE - Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
FILE - Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Zimbabwe's new leader has publicly named more than 1,800 companies and individuals accused of illegally stashing hundreds of millions of dollars overseas and not bringing the money home under a now-expired amnesty deal.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has vowed to fight corruption after the dramatic resignation in November of longtime leader Robert Mugabe, whose government was accused of widespread mismanagement of the once-prosperous country.

Mnangagwa in December announced the amnesty deal, which expired Friday. He now says $591 million of the $1.2 billion suspected to be illegally stashed overseas has been returned.

The president says those on the list should "take heed of the importance of good corporate governance and the legal obligations of citizenry" or face prosecution.

His list shows China as the main destination for "funds externalized to foreign banks in cash or under spurious transactions."

Four Zimbabwe state-owned diamond-mining firms are among those accused of moving the most money abroad in "illicit financial flows." The four firms, which mined in fields that once courted controversy over alleged army killings of illegal artisanal miners and looting, are accused of failing to repatriate over $111 million in export proceeds.

Mugabe previously claimed the firms spirited out $15 billion from the diamond fields, where the Chinese were major players until Zimbabwe's government cancelled all licenses to make way for a state monopoly in 2016.

Also Monday, a government gazette notice said the government has repealed sections of an indigenization law that limited foreign ownership of businesses to 49 percent, though diamonds and platinum are still reserved for majority ownership by the state. The move also had been promised by the new president.