Zimbabwe loses US$25 billion after looting spree

Zimbabwe has lost a staggering US$24,6 billion of public funds between the period 2015 to 2019, a former finance minister made the shocking revelation.
Wilson Chipangura, Guest Reporter 

Zimbabwe has lost a staggering US$24,6 billion of public funds between the period 2015 to 2019, a former finance minister made the shocking revelation. 

Former Finance minister during the Government of National Unity (GNU) from 2009 to 2013, Tendai Biti said during a virtual address dubbed “Unpacking the Pandemic of Corruption – Whither Zimbabwe” that the country had suffered a haemorrhage under current administration. 

Biti said Zimbabwe was losing roughly US$3,6 billion through gold and cigarette smuggling annually. The top beneficiaries of this smuggling scheme are South Africa and Dubai were the shoddy deals between the looting officials and their traders complete transactions. 

“The large part of Zimbabwe’s haemorrhage and leakage is actually coming now through treasury, through central government.

“We know from the statements of the Auditor General that 2,7 billion was stolen and lost directly through treasury in 2017. US$3,5 billion was lost directly through treasury in 2018 and the recently released audit report of 2019 shows a loss of US$7,6 billion lost through treasury. 

“In three years, over and above the deficit around US$14 billion has been lost through the ministry of finance. This is concerning because the ministry of finance traditionally is an oversight ministry, it is a gatekeeper, so it beholds the mind when the gatekeeper becomes the principal gatecrasher. 

“I need to say that beyond this US$14 billion, parliament right now has pending before it a financial adjustment bill in respect of which the executive, the government of the day is seeking condonation of the sum of US$10,6 billion that was again lost through treasury between 2015 and 2017. 

“So between 2015 and 2019, Zimbabwe has lost US$10,6 billion accounted for by the financial adjustment bill, then US$14 billion in the form of US$2,7 billion lost in 2017; US$3,5 billion lost in 2018 and US$7,6 billion lost in 2019. There is more in 2020, there is more in 2019. 

“Gold alone US$1,5 billion is being smuggled annually from Zimbabwe which translate between 40 to 50 tonnes that is being shipped out of Zimbabwe illegally, the major destination is South Africa, the major destination is Dubai. 

“Diamonds millions and millions of carats are being shipped out of Zimbabwe even after the low levels of production that are taking place at Marange,” he said. 

The top Harare lawyer also said between 2009 and end 2014, Zimbabwe lost US$15 billion worth of diamonds illegally, a figure which was also confirmed the late President Robert Mugabe. 

A further estimation shows the figure is even bigger than the initially stated US$15 billion which is currently a matter of public record. No effort have been made by the authorities to account for the money. 

Different government officials have since that time dismissed the looting expose saying Mugabe had mistakenly made the remarks because age was catching up with him. 

“We losing around US$1 billion through cigarette smuggling done by a cartel, so we are essentially losing around US$3 billion worth of resources through corruption in resources and this excludes what we are losing in the form of illicit financial flows (IFFs). 

“Since the coup of November 2017, corruption has become so entrenched and so deep rooted. The challenge with this corruption is that it affects every length and breadth of Zimbabwe, it affects every sphere of Zimbabwean life, it has become a huge threat to people’s livelihoods. 

“It has become a huge threat to the existence of Zimbabwe itself as a nation state, it has become a huge threat to the prospects of sustainable economic recovery. It is putting a premium on Zimbabwe as a country, it is putting a premium on our capacity to develop,” Biti bemoaned.

RosGwen24 News
RosGwen24 News
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