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Mnangagwa opens 3-month amnesty window for return of stolen funds

Upon expiry of the amnesty at end of February 2018, the government will arrest and prosecute those who would have failed to comply.

Newly sworn-in President Emmerson Mnangagwa speaks during the Inauguration ceremony at the National Sport Stadium in Harare on 24 November 2017. Picture: AFP.

HARARE - Zimbabwe’s new President Emmerson Mnangagwa has opened a three-month amnesty window for the return of public funds illegally stashed abroad by individuals and companies, he said on Tuesday.

Upon the expiry of the amnesty at end of February next year, the government will arrest and prosecute those who would have failed to comply, Mnangagwa said in a statement.

Mnangagwa was sworn-in as president on Friday and promised to tackle corruption, which had become endemic under former president Robert Mugabe’s 37-year rule.

“Those affected are thus encouraged to take advantage of the three-month moratorium to return the illegally externalised funds and assets in order to avoid the pain and ignominy of being visited by the long arm of the law,” Mnangagwa said.

Zimbabwe’s new president is under pressure to deliver, especially on the economy, which is in the grip of severe foreign currency shortages that have seen banks failing to give cash to customers.

After recovering under a unity government between the ruling Zanu-PF and the opposition between 2009 and 2012, the southern African nation’s economy has unravelled with the unemployment rate above 90%.

Mnangagwa is expected to announce a cabinet this week, with all eyes on whether he breaks with the past and names a broad-based government or selects old guard figures from Mugabe’s era.

An official at parliament said Mnangagwa had asked for curriculum vitaes of Zanu-PF legislators on Tuesday as he moves to put the new cabinet in place.

Meanwhile, deputy parliament speaker Mabel Chinomona told the house that she had been informed by Zanu-PF that the party had recalled five legislators from parliament, indicating the five had been dismissed as Zanu-PF lawmakers.

The members, all linked to the G40 group that supported Mugabe’s wife Grace, include former ministers Savior Kasukuwere, Jonathan Moyo and Ignatius Chombo, who is facing corruption charges in court.