THE Al Jazeera quad-series documentary has exposed that controversial gold-dealer Pedzisayi “Scott” Sakupwanya is President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s runner who has helped him build a war chest ahead of the 2023 elections.
Sakupwanya is Mnangagwa’s key fundraiser in his re-election bid and says he can move huge sums of money anywhere in the world.
Angel phoned Sakupwanya and offered him money from Al Jazeera reports posing as gangsters, so that he buys gold.
He accepted the offer, promising 10% interest. Asked by Angel how he can transfer profits to the undercover journalists, Sakupwanya said he can transfer money anywhere in the world. Angel made a call to Sakupwanya who told him he has sold six tonnes of gold in 10 months.
“I guess I can do 10% per month. It depends on where are they from (the investors). If they are from Dubai, I can pay into their Dubai account. Anywhere. Anywhere in the world I can manage to transfer. Not a problem for me,” Sakupwanya says in the phone call.
According to Angel, who was keen to ensure that the job to launder money does not go to Ewan McMillan so that he remains in control, Sakupwanya has managed to keep his wealth, proceeds to gold, due to his loyalty to Mnangagwa.
“Because he is (pointing above, to indicate that he is Mnangagwa’s man) … and the president,” Angel says in the documentary.
He said Sakupwanya had surpassed his former boss Ewan Macmillan, even taking over his moniker “Mr Gold” to become “The New Mr Gold”.
“He is the biggest gold buyer in Zimbabwe. He is right there, he’s in his house sitting on five million,” says Angel while showing undercover journalists a picture of Sakupwanya from his phone.
“This guy used to clean MacMillan’s (Ewan) car. MacMillan was the one that he worked for. Scott is number one. Number one without doubt. We can call him right now. MacMillan, a notorious gold smuggler, has on the other hand fallen by the wayside, and says he is done bribing politicians to smuggle gold.
“I will never go down that road again. You pay, you pay, you pay, you pay and you pay. And you think, this is so much money. Why am I paying this much money!” he said.
The Centre for Natural Resource Governance, an organisation that promotes transparency in natural resources last year put Sakupwanya’s name among those financing of Zanu PF ahead of the forthcoming general elections. In a report titled Zimbabwe’s Disappearing Gold: A Case of Mazowe and Penhalonga, Sakupwanya was placed at the heart of Zanu PF’s illicit financing of its 2023 poll war chest.
“Scott (Sakupwanya) has risen to the apex of the gold cartel within a space of four years. His tentacles have also spread to the political circles. He was named in the recently unveiled Zanu PF Resource Mobilisation Committee responsible for fundraising for the party’s 2023 campaign. One source suspects gold is central to the party’s fundraising strategy — hence the appointment of Scott,” reads the report.
It adds: “The modus operandi at Redwing and Mazowe gold mines, both owned by Metallon Corporation and now partially taken over by Zanu PF officials, is the same. Several other closed mining companies in Zimbabwe have also adopted the same model.
“These mines have been leased to Zanu PF officials or politically-connected businesspeople who employ artisanal miners for provision of cheap labour. The companies have avoided operational costs and possibly statutory obligations as well as regulation and compliance that come with properly operating a gold mine in Zimbabwe. The companies have subtly evaded full accountability of the gold production from mines.”
Gold is central to Zimbabwe’s economic fortunes and politics and has created a source of livelihood for thousands, while also a feeding trough for the politically connected and a centre of crony political patronage for Zanu PF and its shadowy economic networks.
Scott has been buying gold from artisanal miners operating in mines like Redwing, most of whom have been operating under inhumane conditions.