December 13, 2022

US imposes new Zimbabwe-related sanctions and removes 17 Zimbabweans from SDN List

On December 12, 2022, the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control designated 4 individuals and 2 entities in Zimbabwe under the Zimbabwe sanctions program, which targets those who engage in or facilitate human rights abuse or corruption in Zimbabwe, or undermine its democratic processes and institutions.  Each year, OFAC also removes hundreds of persons from the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List.  Toward this end, OFAC delisted 17 Zimbabweans who no longer meet the criteria for designation under the Zimbabwe sanctions program.  

According to OFAC, the new designees are all connected to Kadakwashe Tagwirei and his company, Sakunda Holdings; both were designated by OFAC in 2020 pursuant to Executive Order 13469 — Tagwirei for providing material support to the Government of Zimbabwe, and Sakunda for being owned or controlled by Tagwirei.  OFAC reports that Tagwirei grew his business empire by utilizing his relationships with Zimbabwean officials, including President Mnangagwa, to obtain state contracts and receive favored access to hard currency such as US dollars. 

Most of the new designees were sanctioned pursuant to EO 13469 for having served as Sakunda executives or as business partners of Tagwire; among them is Tagwirei’s wife Sandra Mpunga,  who has served as Sakunda’s executive director.  OFAC also designated Emmerson Mnangagwa, Jr., the son of  President Mnangagwa, who handled his father’s business interests related to Tagwirei.  Emmerson was designated by OFAC pursuant to EO 13391 for being an immediate family member of the President of Zimbabwe.

As a result of these designations, all property and interests in property of today’s designees within the United States or within the possession or control of a US person are blocked, and US persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions involving the designated persons.  In addition, entities owned 50 percent or more by one or more designated persons are also blocked, unless they are exempt or authorized by a general or specific license issued by OFAC.

Department of Treasury Press Release