Zimbabwe has directed banks not to provide services to a local unit of South African owned platinum company, Zimplats, after it continued to put money in offshore accounts, state media reported Friday.
"Due to the failure by Zimplats (Zimbabwe Platinum) to adhere to provisions of this directive, to close their offshore accounts and transfer their funds to bank onshore as directed, exchange control has taken corrective administrative measures to enforce compliance," Gideon Gono, the Reserve Bank governor of Zimbabwe, was quoted as saying by The Herald newspaper.
"In this regard, authorised dealers are hereby advised to stop processing and facilitating international or any cross-border payments on behalf of Zimplats ... and to stop processing and facilitating any exports."
Zimbabwe announced in March that foreign banks and mining companies should bank their proceeds locally instead of offshore.
Zimplats, the local unit of the world's second-largest platinum producer Impala Platinum, said it was "surprised" by the directive.
"Zimplats is urgently liaising with the monetary authorities to resolve this matter amicably," Busi Chindove for Zimplats told The Herald.
The government earlier this year threatened to take Zimplats over after it failed to submit a plan to distribute 51 percent of its shares to locals to comply with the country's indigenisation laws.
The company later submitted a plan to the government for evaluation.
Under its terms, the company said it would give 10 percent ownership to its workers, another 10 percent to a community trust near its mine, and 31 percent to the government's Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Fund.
Under the controversial local ownership law championed by President Robert Mugabe, the government must pay for the shares it receives — something the cash-strapped Treasury has not budgeted for this year.