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Lifestyle audit for Caaz security boss



The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) has launched a lifestyle audit into Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (Caaz) security manager Cleopas Chidodo (pictured) after he appeared in an Al Jazeera documentary revealing the kickbacks he demands from smugglers of goods, minerals and cash at Robert Mugabe International Airport.


Zacc spokesperson Thandiwe Mlobane confirmed the development in an interview with The NewsHawks on Monday this week.

 “Zacc is carrying out its mandate of investigating all reports that it has received. I confirm that Zacc is carrying out investigations on allegations levelled against Cleopas Chidodo,” she said.

Mlobane said she was not at liberty to divulge additional information on the investigation. However, sources within Zacc revealed that the investigators who were assigned to tackle Chidodo’s case have initiated a lifestyle audit.

Investigators want to measure his wealth against his official income amid reports that he has invested heavily into real estate and public transport.

 “The intelligence which the investigators gathered was that Chidodo had amassed a lot of wealth that included houses, residential properties in Harare and a lot of commuter omnibuses and buses plying various routes in the country.

“They are trying to see if there could be a case of unexplained wealth belonging to him. At present unexplained wealth includes cash or properties that range from US$100 000 and above at law although there has been a push to cut it down to US$10 000. Indications are that Chidodo’s wealth is beyond both figures,” said the source.

 Checks at Robert Mugabe Airport revealed that Chidodo has not been reporting for duty from the time Al Jazeera began releasing the first episode that implicated him.

 His workmates said they were not sure if he was on suspension, but the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s Financial Intelligence Unit last month announced that it had frozen his accounts pending investigations linked to revelations he made in the Al Jazeera documentary.

“He is not here. He has not been coming to work for some time now and we learnt only late that he had been fingered in the Al Jazeera documentary. He kept a low profile and was most of the time inside the CCTV room, we did not interact closely with him,” Chidodo’s workmate in the Caaz security department at the Robert Mugabe Airport told The NewsHawks.

In the second episode of the Al Jazeera documentary, Chidodo boasted that he could facilitate smuggling of anything ranging from valuable minerals to cash.

“Anything you need to take out of the country, that’s my area. This is my 23rd year. Twenty-three years I am at the airport, that’s why I got promoted and I’m now the boss,” he said.

“You need to tell me what you are carrying. It will also help in making some charges, you see. If, for example, you are taking money, we need to know how much you are taking. Usually for money it’s about 5% of what you are taking, but if you are taking precious minerals, gold, diamonds, the price goes up.”

He also told undercover reporters that former first lady Grace Mugabe used her position to smuggle diamonds and ivory out of the country without the late former president Robert Mugabe’s knowledge.

 He said the former first lady would send planes to diamond mines where the finest gems would be handpicked and flown to Dubai via Harare International Airport (now Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport).

In his comments to Al Jazeera, included in the documentary, Chidodo later claimed he had played along so that he would arrest the undercover reporters when they came through the airport to smuggle dirty cash and minerals.

 He then backtracked on the statements and issued a public apology to the former first lady last week, saying he had lied after being coerced. He also said the undercover reporters laced his drink.

“It is untrue that Dr Grace Mugabe devised schemes to smuggle minerals and ivory behind the late president Robert Mugabe’s back. It is untrue that Dr Grace Mugabe made a lot of money through smuggling minerals out of the country.

“I am aware of the reputational damage I have caused to the first family, especially Dr Grace Mugabe and I sincerely apologise for the falsehoods that have stained the image of the former first family,” said Chidodo.

He added: “I wish to state that during time of the meeting and the recordings my mind had been manipulated by what I assume were drinks spiked by a substance to the extent that I do not even recall saying the said statements even though I acknowledge the video shows me saying so. It was unwise, immature and extremely unfortunate that I resorted to lying whilst soiling the image of Dr Grace Mugabe and her family and for that I once again apologise,” said Chidodo.