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Gold Mafia scandal must be investigated — CCC



THE opposition Citizens’ Coalition for Change and anti-corruption lobby group Transparency International Zimbabwe (TIZ) have called for investigations into allegations of underworld gold trading, money laundering and abuse of diplomatic priviledges revealed in an Al Jazeera documentary titled The Gold Mafia.


In the documentary, President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s close associates, including his niece Henrietta Rushwaya, are recorded by Al Jazeera undercover reporters revealing that they are into serious smuggling of gold and money laundering.

In separate statements, CCC and TIZ said there is a need for thorough independent forensic investigations to look into findings made by the international broadcaster.

In the statement released by CCC spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere, the party said it was deeply concerned with the levels of underworld gold plunder and corruption by Mnangagwa’s men.

“Although there remain two episodes to air, information and leads released so far demand the immediate establishment of an independent international forensic investigation into the shocking findings contained in the documentary . . . There is strong suggestion that political elites are deliberately setting up personal networks of businesspersons-cum-criminals that operate to undermine constitutional accountability,” she said.

“It is a matter of regret that state institutions that are constitutionally mandated to investigate and bring to book those reasonably suspected of corruption, maladministration and criminal abuse of office including the Zimbabwe Republic Police and the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission neglect to investigate the issues and act as would be expected.

“The documentary further raises a serious concern for Zimbabwean citizens that there is a link between the illicit gold trade and political finance intended to capture state institutions in the forthcoming elections which poses a potential threat to the constitutional imperatives and safeguards set out in the Constitution. These safeguards are designed to ensure the best interests of the citizens are served at all times by accountable officials created for that purpose and not shadowy, parallel formations,” said Mahere.

TIZ also amplified calls for an investigation of the gold mafia.

“Transparency International calls on the Financial Intelligence Unit, Zimbabwe Republic Police and the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate further and cause necessary reforms to end such activities in the country,” wrote the organisation in a statement.
The documentary comes after the release of the 2022 Corruption Perceptions Index which revealed ongoing endemic corruption in Zimbabwe, with a score of just 23 out of 100.

TIZ said it is worrying that new scandals of grand corruption and abuse of public office continue to emerge, which damages the country in the eyes of investors and development partners.

“Along with the shocking findings of the documentary, these results make clear that it’s time for the government to take stronger action against corruption and money laundering. As the documentary highlights, more and more cartels work with individuals and institutions in Zimbabwe to move dirty money using anonymous trusts and shell companies in tax havens and other secretive jurisdictions,” TIZ said.

“This insidious relationship facilitates organised crime and huge outflows of gold and other precious minerals. In particular, the documentary exposes incidences of alleged under invoicing and under declarations by registered gold dealers to Fidelity Printers and the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, alleging even higher losses than previously assumed.
“This reduces the country’s ability to build critical infrastructure and support the needs of the population or respond to urgent challenges.

“To combat this, the government of Zimbabwe should strengthen mutual legal assistance with other involved jurisdictions to facilitate the exchange of information. They must also ensure that such institutions have the capacity to manage mutual legal assistance requests,” reads the TIZ statement.

The organisation expressed concern that the authorities appeared not to be conducting thorough due diligence into potential investors — including official gold traders.

“The revelations are a possible source of information to bust criminal networks that are actively engaging in gold smuggling and laundering money from Zimbabwe and other selected African countries. Law enforcement, anti-corruption agencies and regulatory authorities should immediately revoke gold trade and export licenses given to the implicated individuals and corporations, pending an investigation into the allegations,” said TIZ.