Nestlé silent on rumoured Zimbabwe probe

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 14th October 2009

Nestle has remained silent on reports that the Zimbabwe government has launched an investigation into the Swiss food giant’s financial dealings in the country.

According to a report in the Dominion Post, the Zimbabwe authorities indicated that they have identified two possible “irregular” transactions and frozen Nestle’s accounts while an investigation takes place.

A spokesperson for the company told just-food that the group was unable to comment on whether the Zimbabwe government had launched a probe into its activities. However, the spokesperson emphasised that its accounts in Zimbabwe had not been frozen.

“The main point is, however, that Nestle Zimbawe’s accounts are not frozen,” the spokesperson said.

Two accounts were reportedly frozen for a couple of days last week by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe as they looked into a couple of transactions they thought to be “irregular”.

The purported investigation follows Nestle’s recent move to stop sourcing milk from a farm owned by the wife of President Robert Mugabe.

The company said that it would stop purchasing milk from Gushungo Dairy Estate, a property owned by Grace Mugabe, after UK media coverage claimed that the 12,000-acre estate was bought from its previous white owner for a knock-down price.

Facing calls for a global consumer boycott, Nestle said that it would find alternative milk supplies. “This announcement reflects our long-term commitment to Zimbabwe while acknowledging the specific circumstances around these events,” a spokesperson for the company said.

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