A Zimbabwean government minister reportedly lost thousands of dollars he had put down as part payment on a U.S. transaction through a local company. The U.S. government allegedly seized the money as a result of the minister being on a the sanctions list of the European Union and United States.
Acting Minister of Information, Paul Mangwana, allegedly deposited $36,000.00 to import through a local company.
The independent newspaper, The Standard, reports that the American authorities impounded Mangwana's money because he is on the list of Zimbabweans closely aligned to President Robert Mugabe.
Officials at the U.S. embassy in Harare could not neither confirm or deny the seizure of the money.
The sanctions were put in place as punishment for alleged human rights violations by the Zimbabwean government. Anyone on the list is prohibited from traveling to an E.U. countries and the United States.
The sanctions target the assets of those on the list who, according to The Standard, have formulated, implemented, or supported policies that have undermined Zimbabwe's democratic institutions.
The sanctions also block the property and economic assets of those on the list and prohibit U.S. citizens or residents from engaging in transactions with the targeted individuals.
An angry Mangwana who, according to The Standard, was informed of the seizure of his money by a letter from the U.S. government, told the newspaper he was shocked.
He said the seizure was proof that the sanctions are against the people of Zimbabwe rather than a few individuals. He described the embargo as trade and economic sanctions against the people of Zimbabwe as he wanted to use the tractor to help feed the nation.
The Zimbabwean government responded to the sanctions by announcing a so-called "look east" policy, which is meant to promote trade with Far Eastern countries, notably China and Malaysia.
However, the policy is still to bear fruit and ordinary Zimbabweans are unhappy about the poor quality of Chinese goods that have flooded the market.
Analysts also charge that China has not made any meaningful investment in Zimbabwe and is only here for the country's raw materials.