Tycoon May Have Shifted Assets to Zimbabwe After U.S. Sanctions
16 Aug 2021

Zimbabwe’s government is pressing ahead with a plan to combine its mining assets under a massive private-public enterprise, even as evidence mounts that the project could be linked to a tycoon sanctioned by the U.S. and U.K.

Previously unreported documents, including correspondence among executives and shareholders, show that weeks after Kudakwashe Tagwirei was sanctioned by the U.S., his Mauritius-based Sotic International Ltd. began planning to shift its assets to a newly created Zimbabwean holding company — Ziwa Resources Ltd. Ziwa is the only private shareholder in the partnership, called Kuvimba Mining House Ltd.

Zimbabwe government officials have repeatedly denied that Tagwirei has any connection to Kuvimba. But Bloomberg in May reported that Kuvimba holds assets that were until at least late last year part-owned by Tagwirei, citing company documents, emails and transcripts of Whatsapp conversations between executives. The government has as recently as last month declined to say how Kuvimba came to possess the assets, which include choice mineral deposits and mines that it says are worth $2 billion.

Tagwirei, an adviser to Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa, was sanctioned by the U.S. on Aug. 5 last year on allegations that he used political influence to gain access to scarce foreign currency and win lucrative deals. The U.S. linked him to the disappearance of $3 billion from a farm-subsidy program, and the U.K. sanctioned him last month for similar reasons.

By Felix Njini and Antony Sguazzin, Bloomberg, 13 August 2021

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