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U.S. blacklists zimbabwean businessman and company for alleged corruption

The U.S. government says Kudakwashe Regimond Tagwirei used his connections with high-level government officials to win contracts

Zimbabwean businessman Kudakwashe Regimond Tagwirei.

The U.S. imposed sanctions on a Zimbabwean businessman and a company he leads for alleged corruption and assisting Zimbabwean government officials involved in public corruption, the U.S. Treasury Department said Wednesday.

The sanctions on Kudakwashe Regimond Tagwirei and energy and infrastructure company Sakunda Holdings come as the U.S. ramps up pressure on the government of Zimbabwe, which the U.S. says launched a violent crackdown on citizens protesting against flawed elections and delayed results about two years ago.

The Zimbabwean government has yet to hold anyone accountable for six civilians who were killed on Aug. 1, 2018, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement Wednesday.

“We support a stable and democratic Zimbabwe,” Mr. Pompeo said on Twitter. “Our new sanctions…today demonstrate to the government and people of Zimbabwe that the U.S. will not tolerate public corruption or hesitate to take action to promote accountability.”SIGN UP

Sakunda and Mr. Tagwirei didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Mr. Tagwirei, 51 years old, is the chief executive of Zimbabwe-based Sakunda. He has longstanding ties to high-level government officials in Zimbabwe, including Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa, and has used his connections to win contracts and gain favored access to hard currency, including U.S. dollars, according to the Treasury. Mr. Mnangagwa is on the U.S. blacklist for allegedly undermining democratic processes or institutions in Zimbabwe.

Sakunda largely financed a state farm subsidy program, according to the U.S. A Zimbabwean parliamentary inquiry found that the government had failed to account for about $3 billion in public funds disbursed under the program, the U.S. said.

The sanctions block assets Mr. Tagwirei and Sakunda have within U.S. jurisdictions, prohibit U.S.-based companies and individuals from transacting with them and expose anyone doing business with them to potential penalties. – Wall Street Journal.

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