George Maponga in Masvingo—
Government has rapped the US government for penalising Barclays Bank $2,5 million for processing transactions for corporate customers that are on the “List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons” saying the move was clear confirmation that Zimbabwe was under a “hideous’’ economic embargo. According to a recent US Treasury statement, Barclays agreed to pay the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) in order to settle claims related to the violation of US sanctions by processing transactions for Government-backed entities in Zimbabwe.
The US Treasury is reported to have noted Barclays’ 159 transactions totalling $3,4 million from July 2008 to September 2013, to or through the US financial institutions, including the bank’s New York branch, for corporate customers of Barclays Bank of Zimbabwe.
Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Minister Dr Christopher Mushohwe last week said the US was using the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (zidera) to economically strangulate Zimbabwe.
Dr Mushohwe, who was addressing content producers and film-makers during a consultative meeting in Masvingo, said the penalty imposed on Barclays by the US government bore testimony to the illegal sanctions imposed on Harare by Washington.
“Those of you who might have read papers may have come across the story about Barclays Bank which has been penalised by the United States Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) for processing transactions for corporate customers that are on the ‘List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons’,’’ he said.
“That is the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act, popularly known as zidera, which bears testimony to the illegal sanctions which have been imposed against Zimbabwe by the United States of America,’’ said Dr Mushohwe.
Dr Mushohwe said the US sanctions as unjustified and hideous.
The transactions which the US penalised Barclays for were mainly for the Industrial Development Corporation of Zimbabwe, which has in the past reported that it had over $3,5 million intercepted because of US sanctions.
The funds were for Chemplex Corporation and the Zimbabwe Fertiliser Company received from exports and for purchases. Ironically, the US recently removed Agribank and the Industrial Development Corporation from the sanctions list, with US embassy saying the banks “provide services to deserved and disadvantaged populations in Zimbabwe and serve unique development functions.”