PRESIDENTIAL Envoy and Ambassador-at-Large Uebert Angel, who is holed up in Dubai after being exposed as a player in gold smuggling and money laundering activities, has been on a property-buying spree in and out of Zimbabwe, officials from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) and other state investigative agencies say.
Of late Angel has acquired two properties in Glenlorne in Harare, one of which is his family residence while the other accommodates one of his staff members. He has also acquired properties and is building or renovating them in Braeside and Hatfield in the capital. He is also building a Church Village on the outskirts of Harare after the tollgate along the Masvingo-Beitbridge Highway. In addition Angel has acquired properties in Dubai, Greece and East Africa.
The FIU and the Insurance and Pensions Commission (Ipec) are investigating Angel over money laundering allegations, after he was exposed in Al Jazeera’s four-part Gold Mafia investigative documentary as a key player in gold smuggling. A telephone conversation between Angel and Zimbabwe Miners’ Federation president Henrietta Rushwaya revealed that they use private jets to pick up gold as part of smuggling and laundering activities. Angel also revealed he could easily carry millions of dollars in his diplomatic bag, to facilitate money laundering.
A letter from Ipec and FIU to insurance industry players revealed the entities were trying to establish properties purchased by Angel between 1 January 2020 and 21 March 2023. “The Insurance and Pensions Commission (the Commission) is required in terms of the Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Act [Chapter 9:24], to coordinate with FIU in the assessment of the money laundering and terrorist financing risks to which the country is exposed,” wrote the FIU.
“Pursuant to the above, we are in receipt of an urgent communication from the FIU requesting all industry players to assist with information on: (i) insurance products; (ii) insured assets held or dis – posed by the above-mentioned individuals directly or indirectly through companies or trusts during the period 1 January 2020 and 21 March 2023.”
An FIU official revealed Angel had acquired two properties in Dubai, one in Greece and another in an East African country.
“In addition, he has two properties in Glen Lorne, here in Harare, one in Braeside and another one near the Robert Mugabe International Airport,” said the official.
“He is also building a massive structure just after the tollgate along Masvingo Road, which will include a church villa, lodges and a conference centre. The building will have recreational facilities, fitness centre and facilities, business offices, as well as satellite and internet facilities.”
Angel was the most vocal and undiplomatic actor in the four-part Gold Mafia series, implicating the President and his wife. He also implicated Mnangagwa’s gold runner Pedzesai “Scott” Sakupwanya in the gold smuggling saga. From the first to the last episode, Angel, who is Presidential Envoy and Ambassador-at-Large to Europe and the Americas, was playing a leading role in revealing the roles of key Gold Mafia players in Zimbabwe. He also exposed that investors pay facilitation fees ranging from US$200 000 to US$1 million to have access to the President.
Investigations by Al Jazeera show that Zimbabwe has been losing over 50 kilogrammes of gold every week through a well-knit racket involving people close to President Mnangagwa. In the final series titled: Having The King With You, Angel calls First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa to discuss whether the First Family would provide a plane for US$1.2 billion to be transported into the country.
The other alternative was for the gangsters, who were in fact Al Jazeera reporters, should use their own plane. The gangsters were posing as people who wanted to clean their money by building a casino in Victoria Falls. Through phone calls, Angel also exposed the role of controversial gold dealer Sakupwanya in the smuggling syndicate. “He is the biggest gold buyer in Zimbabwe. He used to clean cars for MacMillan (Ewan). MacMillan is the one he used to work for,” Angel explained to undercover reporters.
He also said he has managed to keep his wealth due to connections with President Mnangagwa. Sakupwanya, a Mnangagwa loyalist, is one of the financers to Mnangagwa’s election campaign.