By Staff Reporter
SPEAKER of Parliament Jacob Mudenda has stopped investigations being conducted by the National Assembly Committees into gold smuggling and money laundering allegations raised in Al Jazeera’s Gold Mafia documentary saying other arms of State are better placed to probe the exposé.
In a statement addressed to Chairpersons for Public Accounts Committee and Budget, Finance and Economic Development, B Dube and Mathew Nyashanu, respectively, Mudenda ordered the two committees to leave the investigations to the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission and the police.
Mudenda said in reaching his decision he was guided by the stance taken by the South African government which has deferred to specialised agencies regarding the same issues.
“I wish to state from the outset that the matter is serious and of national importance. However, it is pertinent to note that the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission and the RBZ have already started processes to investigate the matter.
“In that vein, it would be improper for Parliament to embark on an inquiry on a matter that other arms of the State are investigating,” Mudenda said.
According to the Speaker of Parliament, the Al Jazeera investigation matters are of a complex nature and may require extraterritorial visits due to the alleged involvement of foreign players.
“In that regard, it is prudent to leave the investigations to specialised agencies like ZACC, and the Police are better placed to investigate matters.
“Parliament will continue to monitor the investigations and will carry out its oversight role when the specialised agencies have completed their investigation.
“In addition, the Portfolio Committee on Mines and Mining Development conducted an inquiry into Illicit Financial flows in the Mining Sector in the course of last year,” he added.
Recently there was public outrage following revelations of gold smuggling by individuals affiliated to Zimbabwean government officials and the ruling party by international news network Al Jazeera.
The four-part documentary titled ‘Gold Mafia’ was filmed by Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit (I-Unit), based on dozens of undercover operations spanning three continents and thousands of documents.
It exposed how huge amounts of gold are smuggled from Zimbabwe, Africa’s sixth-largest gold producer, to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, aiding money laundering through an intricate web of shell companies, fake invoices and paid-off officials.
Uebert Angel, Presidential Envoy and Ambassador-At-Large to Europe and the Americas since March 2021, was secretly filmed bragging that he could move $1.2billion easily using his diplomatic immunity.
Other individuals filmed or named in the documentary include Zimbabwe Miners Federation President Henrietta Rushwaya – believed to be the niece of President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Kamlesh Pattni, a businessman previously involved in a gold smuggling scandal in Kenya.