Cash-strapped Zimbabwe coalition government has turned down a loan offer of up to US$50 billion from Norange Capital Mar-kets of South Africa after security checks indicated the money could be “dirty”.

Government insiders said yesterday the offer was rejected because the country’s security agencies had “reasonable suspicion” that the company might be seeking to “launder their money through Zimbabwe”.

The Zimbabwe Mail has has been informed by high level sources in the Central Intelligence Organisation, CIO that Mugabe suspects that the money is destined to either the MDC or one of the ZANU PF factions and might be used to topple him.

The proposed funding was divided into two categories – a non-repayable US$100 million grant and a loan of up to US$50 billion payable over 30 years.
It attracted a negotiable annual interest rate of up to 3 percent.

Secretary for Finance Mr Willard Manungo wrote to Norange president and chief executive General Hendrie Hattingh on August 12 this year advising him that the proposal was “unsustainable”.

The letter was copied to Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Dr Misheck Sibanda.

“Please be advised that Government has done a thorough appraisal of your proposal and has come to the conclusion that the proposal is unsustainable.

“We are thus unable to take up your offer,” read part of the letter.

Finance Minister Tendai Biti confirmed receipt of the proposal, but refused to shed more light.

Mr Manungo could not be reached to provide further details yesterday.

State media said security verifications raised suspicion that the company might have wanted to “launder dirty money” through Zimbabwe.

“The issue was dealt with by the Presidency and it is suspected that these guys might be involved in money laundering and might have wanted to clean their money here,” said an official who requested anonymity.

Norange wrote to Minister Biti on May 31 this year saying it had contractually entered into an agreement with Mei Hua Family United Nations, the principal backer of its Global Funder, to advance a loan to Zimbabwe through the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.

The funds were to be allocated under what is called Programmes of Global Fund-505 Project of World Peace, whose main objectives are “working for a world free of war, poverty eradication and global green movement”.

Without revealing names of other potential beneficiaries, the company indicated that Zimba-bwe was one of the first proposed recipients of the facility in the Asia-Pacific-Africa bloc.

According to the proposal, Zimbabwe would open a custodian account with the RBZ in the name of Norange Capital Markets for the investor to deposit a Safe Keeping Receipt to start funding procedures and link this to the main account of the Global Funder.

Minister Biti would assist in translating the SKR into liquid funds.

All the transactions were to be done between the Negara Bank of Malaysia and RBZ.

“Upon signing all protocols, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe will directly engage Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz of the Bank of Negara, Malaysia, to carry out due diligence and verification of the funds exercise within the agreed time window,” proposed Norange.

“We will notify the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the FED (US Federal Reserve), (and) Interpol prior to and upon the verification procedure of the funds.”

Apart from a loan package, Norange also offered technical assistance to Government in capitalising and hedging of loans into international financial programmes to securitise the capital and interest.

This was an extra option independent to the funding proposal under a separate contract.

“We therefore approach you within the context of your drive to turn around the economy and for investment in Zimbabwe’s infrastructure and other opportunities for immediate facilitation of this process,” said Norange.

“Norange does support your objective of a 7,7 percent (economic) growth which was recently downgraded to 4,7 percent and is confident that this Global Fund has the potential to eradicate the debt of US$7,1 billion and ensure economic growth.

“Norange does not trade debt for assets. We require no security, assets or treasury collateral against funding.”

The company wanted tax concessions through enactment of a Statutory Instrument.

It requested authority to repatriate, for other investments outside Zimbabwe, its funds allocated without “undue restrictions and exchange control”.

In addition, it wanted permission to repatriate and remit 100 percent of dividends and interests from its investments in Zimbabwe free of any withholding tax and any other restrictions.

It wanted Government to exempt customs union and excise duty, value added tax and any other taxes on imported goods, vehicles of all types, factor inputs, plant and machinery.

It said it was aware of the Western sanctions on Zimbabwe but said these would not affect the deal because Norange had global immunity.