A MEMBER of the British House of Lords, Jonathan Oates (pictured), has called for the establishment of the International Anti-Corruption Court (IACC) to prosecute corrupt leaders who steal resources using political influence and power and their co-conspirators.
Oates made the remarks following the implication of President Emmerson Mnangagwa, First Lady Auxilia Mnangagwa, government officials and allies of the First Family in money laundering and gold smuggling syndicates in the Al Jazeera investigative documentary, The Gold Mafia.
He made the call during his oral presentation in United Kingdom’s House of Lords on Wednesday.
Before calling for the establishment of the international corruption corrupt, Oates expressed disgust over the deepening crisis in Zimbabwe in which he said the Zanu PF regime is literally looting the country’s resources to an extent where citizens are now being robbed of a “brighter economic future”.
“In Zimbabwe, the Zanu PF regime is mired in corruption which has robbed the Zimbabwean people of what should be a bright economic future. Instead of serving the people, the regime leaders aided by corrupt businesspeople and the judiciary system entirely captured by the Zanu PF regime loot the country’s wealth.
“Just last week, an opposition politician, Jacob Ngarivhume, was sentenced to four years in prison for simply calling for peaceful protests against corruption in 2020. “Millions of stolen dollars are laundered to countries like China, Hong Kong, Dubai, Singapore, Monaco, some states in the United States of America and shamelessly London,” he said.
Oates also specifically took aim at President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Envoy and Ambassador-at-Large, Uebert Angel, his partner Rikki Doolan and business tycoon Kamlesh Pattni whom he said must be investigated by the UK’s International Criminal Agency (ICA) over issues arising from the Al Jazeera documentary since they are resident in Britain and are citizens of the Western country.
“Recently a documentary by Al Jazeera secretly filmed Zimbabwean officials and business persons conspiring to launder illicit funds. Those filmed include at least three British citizens, Uebert Angel, Rikki Doolan and Kamlesh Pattni making clearly on camera their willingness to engage in corruption.
“I know the minister (UK Minister on Foreign Affairs) cannot respond to these specific cases but I hope that the National Crime Agency is investigating these individuals and others named in the documentary on their sources of wealth and I hope that the authorities won’t hesitate to freeze assets of those individuals while investigations are being pursued,” said Oates.
In order to bring to account world leaders who use their power to steal resources and institute extra-territorial investigations to recover their stolen assets, Oates said the creation of the international anti-corruption court was key.
“While the British authorities can act on crimes committed under the UK jurisdiction, there is no mechanism to prosecute kleptocrats and to freeze and seize their funds. This can only be done by establishing an International Anti-Corruption Court that can hold corrupt leaders and their co-conspirators accountable,” he said.
“In some of the countries where funds laundered are withheld, the IACC have them frozen and order repatriation of the assets from the countries where they were stolen. The court will have jurisdiction on member states. For the IACC to succeed, it will not be necessary for the countries ruled by kleptocrats to join the IACC because we assume they will not. “
The IACC could be established by a treaty and quickly established even by a smaller number of member states as long as there is some financial incentives (for whistleblowers) in attractive destinations where kleptocrats frequently launder or hide and spend stolen assets,” he said.
While currently there is no international court that specifically deals with corruption cases, there is an International Anti-Corruption Coordination Centre (IACCC) which brings together specialist law enforcement officers from multiple agencies around the world.
The law enforcement agencies that constitute the IACCC include the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau of the Republic of Singapore, UK’s National Crime Agency, USA’s Federal Bureau of Investigation, US Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and Australian Federal Police.
New Zealand’s Serious Fraud Office. New Zealand Police and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police also form part of the IACCC.
If the IACC that Lord Oates proposes is established, it could collaborate with the IACCC to buttress its power and effectiveness.
In the Al Jazeera documentary, Angel made calls to First Lady Auxilia who referred her to Mnangagwa, as he sought to facilitate the laundering of US$1.2 billion from China to Zimbabwe by undercover reporters of the international broadcaster who posed as Chinese gangsters.
A multi-million-dollar gold smuggler Ewan McMillan appeared in the documentary saying President Mnangagwa was his partner and revealed that he specifically protects him to smuggle 200 kilogrammes of gold every week.