Local NGOs say they were not surprised by the recent blacklisting of Zimbabwe as posing a financial risk to the EU Commission through anti-money laundering and terrorism financing shortfalls.
The rich bloc blacklisted the country together with Botswana, Mauritius, Ghana, and Uganda which was already on the list which now has 22 countries.The EU said more needed to be done to contain illicit practices on the countries.
In a statement, EU Executive Vice President of the European Commission Valdis Dombrovskis said the bloc was keen on putting “to an end to dirty money into our financial system”.
He added, “Today, we are further bolstering our defences to fight money laundering and terrorist financing, with a comprehensive and far-reaching Action Plan.”
The controversial move elicited strong protests by Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor John Mangudya who said the accusation were not buttressed by any specific examples of the alleged terrorism funding.
However, Centre for Natural Resources Governance (CNRG) director Farai Maguwu said the decision by EU was not surprising in a country whose economic activities were mostly outside formal systems.
“There are hundreds of unregistered Chinese criminals aided by ruling elites all over the country who also happen to be involved in poaching and wildlife organs,” said the environmental activist.
He added, “Whilst poaching and illicit activities are not peculiar to Zimbabwe, the worrying thing is how government is partaking in these activities instead of fighting them.
“There are so much economic activities and yet the government is perennially broke, mainly because the country has become land of organised crime.”
Similarly, James Mupfumi, Centre for Research and Development (CRD) director cited the opaque mining of diamonds in diamond-rich Marange, Manicaland as one case that exposed Zimbabwe’s lack of transparency.
Mupfumi said the EU legal framework on anti-money laundering and counter terrorism financing requires information sharing on beneficial ownership registers of companies, origin, jurisdiction and central bank account registers.
“Considering the murkiness in Marange diamonds mining only, the inclusion of Zimbabwe as a financial risk to the EU is not a surprise to us,” he said.