AFRICANGLOBE – Zimbabwe’s Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa yesterday confronted US Ambassador to Zimbabwe Bruce Wharton over his country’s recent tightening of its illegal sanctions regime that saw the addition of one company and several Chinese nationals doing business in Zimbabwe to a travel and financial blacklist along with the freezing of the Zimbabwe embassy bank account in Washington.
Speaking at the Zimbabwe International Business Conference at the ZITF, Minister Chinamasa said he was shocked when Zimbabwe embassy officials told him last week that their bank account had been frozen and they had failed to access their salaries.
“I could not believe it when I was told that the US had frozen the embassy account and this created problems because we could not send money to pay the embassy workers their salaries.
“We advised them to open a new account with a different bank, but this was not possible as every other bank gave them flimsy excuses,” said the minister.
The bank account was only unfrozen after Zimbabwe took the matter up with the US State Department whose Office of Foreign Assets Control has been prejudicing Zimbabwean firms of millions of dollars in seized funds.
The West’s illegal sanctions regime is estimated to have cost Zimbabwe over US$42 billion in revenue since the turn of the millennium.
While Ambassador Wharton said the bank account had since been unfrozen, Minister Chinamasa rapped the action, saying it was wrong for the US to have taken it in the first place.
“I know that the account has been unfrozen, but why do that in the first place? The account was only opened after talking to the State Department. Why go that far?” asked Cde Chinamasa.
He bemoaned the existence of the illegal western sanctions saying they were placing the economy under siege. He said he had not wanted to talk about the issue at the business forum but had no option as the US ambassador was also present.
Cde Chinamasa said it was, however, important for people from all sectors of the economy to unite and work towards success in spite of the sanctions.
“I am not saying all this to frighten anyone, but I want people to know where the landmines are and I want us to find a way to tip-toe around the landmines.
“We should not be fooled by Americans who tell us all sorts of reasons for the sanctions. The reason is the land reform programme. This programme has been very expensive for the country. It has come with huge costs,” he said.
Why The Hate Robert Mugabe – THEBLACKCHANNEL.NET