Agribank, IDBZ totally freed from US sanctions
Harare, (New Ziana) – Two government owned banks were freed from illegal US sanctions on Thursday after enduring the penalties for 12 years.
While the Agricultural Development Bank of Zimbabwe (Agribank) and the Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe (IDBZ) were removed from the sanctions list in 2016, US officials were still required to seek authorisation when dealing with any transactions involving the financial institutions.
But in an update of the sanctions regulations, the Department of Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) said this was no longer the case, in a development immediately welcomed by Finance Minister, Professor Mthuli Ncube.
“The Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is amending the Zimbabwe Sanctions Regulations to remove a general license that authorizes all transactions involving Agricultural Development Bank of Zimbabwe and Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe as a result of these entities being removed from OFAC’s Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List,” OFAC said in its latest sanctions update.
On July 25, 2008, OFAC sanctioned the two institutions claiming that “these entities contributed to the undermining of democratic processes and institutions in Zimbabwe by providing support for Robert Mugabe’s regime.”
The late Mugabe is Zimbabwe former President.
The new administration in Zimbabwe has been pushing a re-engagement agenda in which it is calling for the total lifting of the embargo slapped on Zimbabwe two decades ago, and is blamed for fuelling the country’s economic challenges.
Prof Ncube said the decision by OFAC was welcome and would help enhance the operations of the two institutions.
“Removal (of sanctions) from any institution is very positive indeed, this will help the bank’s access credit lines….they will find it easier to do business going forward,” he said at a post Cabinet briefing.