Mugabe and generals

Report / June 11, 2012

Financing a Parallel Government

Zimbabwe’s Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) appears to have received off budget financing from a Hong Kong-based businessman, Sam Pa.

At the same time, the CIO is alleged to be engaging in a campaign to discredit key members of Zimbabwe’s political opposition, according to a new report by Global Witness. 

Information given to Global Witness by sources within the CIO suggests that Sam Pa provided funding and material to the organisation in return for access to Zimbabwe’s diamond, cotton and property sectors. One CIO document put this support at $100 million and 200 pick-up trucks.

CIO members exercise joint control over Sino Zimbabwe Development (Pvt) Ltd - a diamonds, cotton and property company in Zimbabwe. Their partner,  Sam Pa is a prominent member of the Queensway Syndicate, a network of companies with a track record of negotiating opaque resource for infrastructure deals across the African continent.

The report also exposes how a Zimbabwean military lawyer owns half of Anjin Investments (Pvt) Ltd, the biggest diamond company in Zimbabwe’s controversial Marange diamond fields, on behalf of Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Defence. Zimbabwe’s military is highly politicised and has been implicated in widespread violence against members of the political opposition party, particularly during election periods in the country.

UPDATE: Sam Pa and Sino Zimbabwe Development sanctioned by U.S.

Sam Pa and Sino Zimbabwe Development (Pvt) Ltd, amongst others, were sanctioned by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Officer of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) on 14 April 2014. This is in connection to their role in undermining democracy and facilitating corruption in Zimbabwe.

The targeted sanctions prohibit all transactions between the U.S. or U.S. persons and Sam Pa or Sino Zimbabwe Development (Pvt) Ltd. All of their assets held within the U.S. jurisdiction will be frozen.

Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S. Cohen said the decision, “targets those who are disrupting Zimbabwe’s democratic and economic progress.”

Sam Pa and Sino Zimbabwe Development were named in Global Witness’2012 report, Financing a Parallel Government—The involvement of the secret police and military in Zimbabwe’s diamond, cotton and property sectors. The report exposed apparent off-budget financing from Sam Pa to Zimbabwe’s secret police, the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO). It also revealed the involvement of members of the CIO, widely implicated in widespread human rights abuses in Zimbabwe, in the group of companies known as Sino Zimbabwe Development (Pvt) Ltd.

In their statement, OFAC outlined Sam Pa’s role in “undermining democratic processes and institutions in Zimbabwe, facilitating public corruption by Zimbabwean senior officials through illicit diamond deals, and providing financial and logistical support to the Government of Zimbabwe and SDNs [Specially designated nationals].”  SDNs are defined by OFAC as “individuals and companies owned or controlled by, or acting for or on behalf of, targeted countries.”

Global Witness welcomes the development.


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