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A Tale of Plunder and Looting of Resources Meant to Develop Zimbabwe

Zimbabwean tycoon Kudakwashe Tagwirei used connections with government leaders and central bank officials to gain access to hard currency and shield assets from the U.S. Treasury, according to a report by a private anti-corruption group. Tagwirei, who was sanctioned by the U.S. in 2020 for corruption, “appears to have the ability to contact senior civilian officials in Zimbabwe at short notice, particularly at the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe,” said the report by The Sentry, the Washington, D.C.-based organization co-founded by the actor and director George Clooney. Such access “raises the possibility of state capture, when the public realm — particularly regulatory, legal, and public policy decision-making — has been influenced to benefit private interests,” it said. With its sanctions, the U.S. said Tagwirei had “favored access to hard currency” and linked him to the disappearance of $3 billion from a farm-subsidy program. The Sentry report said the businessmen was at the center of a web of transactions that led to the establishment of Kuvimba Mining House Ltd., a public-private operation that claims some of Zimbabwe’s most valuable gold, platinum, chrome and nickel mines. The assets were moved from Sotic International Ltd., a Mauritius-based holding company that has been part owned by Tagwirei. Bloomberg in May reported that Kuvimba’s core mining assets were until recently owned by or tied to Tagwirei. The Zimbabwean government won’t say where it got the funds to cover its purchase of the mines, smelters and platinum concessions the Kuvimba venture says it now owns.