March 5, 2024

US sanctions corrupt officials and entities in Zimbabwe and terminates the Zimbabwe Sanctions Program

On March 4, 2024, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control designated Zimbabwe’s President Emerson Mnangagwa and his wife for their alleged involvement in corruption or serious human rights abuse under Executive Order 13818, which builds upon and implements the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act.  OFAC designated a total of 3 entities and 11 individuals who are members of a corrupt business network that operates for the benefit of President Mnangagwa.  According to OFAC, Mnangagwa, who oversees Zimbabwe’s security services, has supported gold and diamond smuggling networks in Zimbabwe by directing certain Zimbabwean officials to facilitate the illegal sale of gold and diamonds.  Mnangagwa has also reportedly taken bribes in exchange for his services and has violently repressed political opponents and civil society groups.  OFAC also reported that Mnangagwa’s wife Auxillia supports her husband’s corrupt activities.  As a result of these designations, all property and interests in property of the designees within the United States or within the possession or control of a U.S. person are blocked, and U.S. 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.

President Biden concurrently signed Executive Order 14118, “Termination of Emergency With Respect to the Situation in Zimbabwe.” The new EO effectively terminates the national emergency declared in EO 13288, EO 13391 or EO 13469 (the authorities of the Zimbabwe Sanctions Program) and removes all persons from OFAC’s Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (“SDN”) List that were blocked solely under these authorities.  EO 14118 also unblocks all property and interests in property that were blocked solely under the Zimbabwe Sanctions Program.  The Zimbabwe Sanctions Regulations will also be removed from the Code of Federal Regulations as a result.

U.S. Department of Treasury Press Release