ZIMBABWEAN gold dealer Ewan Macmillan has made a sensational claim that President Emmerson Mnangagwa, whom he pays an undisclosed amount of money every month, jumps to his protection whenever he gets into trouble with the authorities.
Macmillan boasts of good relations with a number of presidents across the African continent.
The revelations are contained in the final episode of the Al Jazeera Gold Mafia documentary on smuggling of the precious metal and illicit financial flows on the continent has revealed.
According to the documentary titled Gold Mafia: Have the King With You, Macmillan and his business partner Alistair Mathias, a gold trader on the latest Al Jazeera I-Unit docuseries that they could clean money for Mnangagwa and other African leaders in return for business favours.
Al Jazeera said through thousands of confidential documents and exclusive interviews with whistle-blowers from within the criminal underworld, investigators obtained the blueprints of billion-dollar money laundering operations that service the political elite. Macmillan, whom according to the documentary known as “Mr Gold” bragged about his proximity to the corridors of power and the favours he got.
“There is no president or head of state either of us can’t get to on the continent, Mathias who is captured on camera seated on a brown couch next to Macmillan,” says on the documentary.
“Next door Swaziland the King is a close friend of mine. Zambia’s president is a close friend of my friend. DRC Congo, the president has invited me several times to come and build a refinery.”
An undercover I-Unit reporter posing as a Chinese gangster intending to launder US$100 million dirty cash from China then asks Mathias and Macmillan: “So this can help people like us to get the money clean?” Mathias then responds: “Ghana president is a very good friend of mine. In fact he was my lawyer. Cyril Ramaphosa here, I know him. I know his kids.”
Macmillan then interjects and says: “Zimbabwe is easy.”
Mathias continued: “In Zim, ED (Mnangagwa) is my partner. I can’t say it in public because he is sanctioned.”
Macmillan immediately jumps in and says: “I know ED as well. But they don’t know we know each other. I sat with him three months ago. Sitting with him, chatting to him.”
Macmillan, further claimed he got protection from the president whenever he got involved in activities that land him in trouble. Mnangagwa, the documentary revealed came to Macmillan’s aid in his dispute with Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor John Mangudya.
“The good news is that whatever I told him, he did. You know that (asking Mathias)?. . . When I was getting hurt I said ‘you have got to stop it here, here, here and he did it, he did it. Within two weeks, he fixed everything,” Macmillan. “You know Mangudya’s problem. I said to him (ED), ‘Mangudya, I think he is dirty. You need to find him out. ED went and fixed him.”
Macmillan also told an undercover investiga tive team working at Qatar-based global television network Al Jazeera that between 1998 and 2000, he served a prison sentence after agreeing to protect President Emmerson Mnangagwa who then served as State Security minister.
He told the investigative reporters that : “I got sent two ginormous black guys, and they said ‘you know who your partner is, don’t mention it or your life will get so much worse”.
Macmillan has a licence to buy gold from the central bank despite his criminal history.
Macmillan’s connection with the presidency, the documentary exposed came at a price.
“You pay a guy money every month. You just get a partner and pay the guy so much money a month and he just sits back. He is happy, doesn’t care. That’s what happens,” Macmillan said.
George Charamba, Mnangagwa’s spokesperson could not be reached for comment at the time of publication.
Zimbabwe’s Reserve Bank and finance ministry officials have in recent weeks promised to crack down on gold smugglers, saying billions of dollars of revenue are being lost.