Zimbabwe official’s smuggling plan foiled by France and the Netherlands

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Gideon Gono, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe boss has felt the sting on sanctions imposed on him by the European Union when his consignment of flowers destined for France and the Netherlands was returned.

His attempt to evade the sanction by using some fronts failed.

He is estimated to have lost about US200 000 when the flowers were barred from entering both France and the Netherlands.

It is understood that some of the handlers of Gono’s business deals, who had tried to smuggle the flowers into Europe under the guise of using different people to claim their ownership.

EU is said to have put in place a very effective system that is busting the undercover tactics Mugabe and his cronies have used in the past to stash funds as well as do business there using fronts.

“Gono’s flowers were rejected on the grounds that he is on the sanctions list although he had used fronts to pretend as the owners,” a source close to the issue said.

Even before the consignment left Zimbabwe authorities in France where already preparing to send it back to Harare as soon as it arrived.

An official from the French embassy in Harare says that his country, which had been a major market of flowers from Zimbabwe over the past, has included on its targeted sanctions the barring of flowers belonging to Mugabe’s people.

Another Mugabe crony, Jocelyn Chiwenga, wife of Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander Constatine Chiwenga, has also been hit where it hurts most after several EU countries have imposed a ban on her company, Zimsafe’s purchases of goods there.

Zimsafe has been importing inputs for the manufacture of protective clothing and materials from EU countries but since the inclusion of Chiwenga on the sanctions list, it is being barred from buying there, severely affecting its operations.

Even attempts by Chiwenga to use fronts have reportedly been frustrated.

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