By Mary Taruvinga
CITIZENS Coalition for Change (CCC) has accused the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) of obstructing investigations into allegations raised in Al Jazeera’s Gold Mafia exposé.
This comes after the FIU scrapped an assets freeze targeting the documentary’s central figure Uebert Angel, Ewan MacMillan, Simon Rudland and Kamlesh Pattni.
The development came days after the Parliament Speaker Jacob Mudenda stopped committees investigations saying police and the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission was better placed to probe the allegations.
In a statement, CCC condemned the move saying it was aimed at protecting corrupt individuals fingered in the four part film.
“We strongly condemn these actions that appear to be aimed at obstructing a proper investigation. This raises significant concerns about the government’s commitment to accountability and transparency.
“We urge swift action to be taken to investigate this issue fully and bring those found to be involved in illicit activity to justice,” the opposition said.
The FIU is part of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) which stridently rejected allegations by Al Jazeera that it was cleaning dirty money from gold smuggling.
The four-part explosive series which premiered on the Qatar-based channel prompted the FIU to react swiftly, ordering an immediate bank accounts and assets freeze in a bid to ascertain whether the main participants had really played a part in money laundering activities as hinted in the film following a public uproar.
But in an update Monday, FIU director general, Oliver Chiperesa, announced the lifting of the ban after completing investigations.
He added the Unit has since concluded its analysis of the four episodes of the Al Jazeera documentary and determined that there is no ‘good cause’ for the freezing order to remain in place.
“The FIU has not identified transactions/assets linked to money laundering and related financial crime connected to the allegations in the Al Jazeera documentary,” said Chiperesa.
“In view of the above, the FIU has directed financial institutions to unfreeze all the accounts and other financial assets that had been frozen pursuant to the directive of March 31 2023.”
“The unfreezing action is however, without prejudice to any further investigations that law enforcement agencies may wish to commence or continue against any persons involved.”
The FIU said it had exercised its temporary freezing powers to ensure that any illicit proceeds connected to the allegations in the documentary would not be dissipated or disposed of by the persons concerned and prejudice potential future.