Sydney Kawadza Senior Writer
Chinese nationals, retail and mining companies accused of being part to the externalisation of more than $1,3 billion have approached the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to be cleared citing a number of irregularities.
Appealing through the Chamber of Chinese Enterprises in Zimbabwe, the Chinese have cited, among other reasons, failure by their banks to clear the transactions, sending funds to their families while other companies had been shut before regularising their accounts.
It has also emerged that some of the Chinese nationals have approached their banks to seek clarification on the transactions.
The CCEZ, established in June, 2006, as a non-profit organisation, wants the cases cleared before President Mnangagwa’s planned visit to the People’s Republic of China next month.
The chamber, officially approved by the Chinese Ministry of Commerce to engage in business and economic activities between China and Zimbabwe, is supported and operates under the supervision of the Chinese Embassy in Zimbabwe.
In an interview yesterday, CCEZ chairman Ye Hai said all Chinese state-owned entities and their former employees appearing on the list have contacted their banks to clear the issue of document submissions.
“Some of the individuals on the list are former employees who were sending back money to their families and there was no strict exchange control then,” he said.
In a letter gleaned by The Herald Business, Ecobank recently wrote to the Sino-Zimbabwe Cement Company indicating that the company had been cleared on a Telegraphic Payment of EURO 75 707,50 made in March last year. The letter co-signed by the Ecobank head of Trade Fransisca Karanda and head of Trade Operations Johnson Mahanya states that the funds were returned in July “due to a compliance issue” raised by their corresponding bank.
“We take note that the outgoing payment was not acquitted against the returned funds. Please be advised that this has since been cleared on CEBAS platform and your record has been cleared.”
According to a Verification Update on Chinese state-owned companies and individuals on the list, Jinan Mining and Anjin Investments, which were operating at the Chiadzwa Diamond Fields have approached the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe for clearance.
“In 2016, the diamond mine in Mutare was shut down by Government and the company account with BancABC was closed soon after. Therefore, the company hasn’t got enough time to submit all the equipment and materials imported to write-off the payment. The company has since submitted the relevant documents and the bank promised to verify with RBZ as soon as possible,” the chamber says.
The China and Agricultural Technology Demonstration argues that the $71 000 it allegedly externalised was payment for equipment imported in 2015 and has requested the RBZ to write-off the payment.
SinoHydro, which allegedly externalised $30 780, had been removed from the list after indicating that the payment was for diesel imported in November, 2017 and Stanbic Bank has written-off the payment with RBZ.
Other companies waiting for clearance from the RBZ include Beiqi Zimbabwe, which allegedly externalised $18 440, China Dalian International ($60 000), Horizon Ivato Zimbabwe and the China Jiangsu Int. Economic ($290 995) who are arguing that the payment was for equipment transportation to a South African company through the Johannesburg branch of the Bank of China. The chamber also argues that individuals Canbin Liu, Qinggang Zhang, Bing Cai and Ma Jun, who were employed by Tian Ze Tobacco Company and allegedly externalised about $77 980, had sent their salaries to their families between 2012 and 2013.
“They went back to China in 2012 and 2013 and their bank accounts were closed. Since the payment was done from personal accounts, the banks will not release any information to anyone else.
“The company has supporting documents to prove that all the money was from salary and bonus payments while Tian Ze has also notified the affected individuals,” it said.
Other individuals, Xia Hongyan ($12 000) and Xiaojun Liu ($32 000) are also employed by the Tian Ze Tobacco Company also sent money to their Chinese accounts from their salaries and verification was in progress.
Mr Ye said the chamber was making efforts to clear the companies and individuals before President Mnangagwa’s scheduled visit to China next month. President Emmerson Mnangagwa released the names of individuals and companies following the expiry of his 104-day moratorium. The bulk of the money was externalised through non-repatriation of export proceeds, payment for goods not received in Zimbabwe or funds externalised to foreign banks in cash or under spurious transactions.