By Staff Reporter
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa’s ambassador-at-large Uebert Angel has revealed Al Jazeera recorded his telephone conversation with the state leader’s wife and one of his sons during in its blockbuster exposé on money-laundering and gold smuggling activities.
Angel, who was appointed ambassador-at-large and a presidential envoy by Mnangagwa in March 2021, was secretly recorded boasting that he could launder as much as US$1.2 billion and equal worth in gold without any glitch.
Al Jazeera Thursday released its first episode of a four-part investigation into how government officials were facilitating illegal trade in gold in an attempt to ‘bust economic sanctions.’
The first episode centred on Angel, a self-proclaimed prophet, who without any hesitation offered to launder large sums of money for Al Jazeera’s team of investigative journalists posing as potential investors.
The documentary has so far been watched by over 1.8 million people and is number one on YouTube’s trending list.
In a response sent out by Angel’s office Saturday, Sobona Mtisi his Chief Investment Officer said figures of US$200,000 which were mentioned as facilitation fees to meet Mnangagwa were just him playing along to the “investors” as they had already begun to suspect that they were criminals.
Mtisi said they faked a call to Rushwaya and repeated the same for calls to Auxillia and her son, pretending to be facilitating their mega-deal.
“After these suspicions, the team switched to ‘red’ protocol, with the decision to proceed with extreme caution, be in the middle, and to play along, and never to facilitate a meeting between the “investors” and the President. With this knowledge, and at the insistence of the “investors” Ambassador Angel made several calls to decoys working with our office. It is these decoys who posed as Henrietta Rushwaya, the First Lady, and the First Son.
“The calls to the decoys were made in light of the leading questions asked by the “investors”. They kept pushing to have the First Family in the discussion, especially the First Lady and the President. They even threw in figures to help in the charity organisation which Ambassador Angel refused and even told them he had his own money; this part was omitted from the documentary.
“We battled with what if the intelligence is wrong and the country loses much-needed investment. The decoys helped in asserting that if they were real investors, we would be able to get it from their reactions after the call.
“There is no way Ambassador Angel could get hold of the First Lady and First Son without pre-arrangements and standard security clearance procedures in place in meeting with the First Family.
“In the meetings, figures were thrown around for arranging meetings, and Ambassador played along, with the full knowledge that there is no fee required to meet with the President.”
According to the response Angel has never met Auxillia. Mtisi stated there was no way Angle could have gone through with his promise to carry US$1.2 billion illegally into the country as that was ‘physically impossible’ and he ‘just wanted to see if the money was really there.’
He claimed a lot of his better responses were edited out of the documentary, whose second episode is expected this week.
Added Mtisi: “The Ambassador has never met the First Lady. They never met and never had any direct dealings.
“Honestly, it should be common sense that it’s physically impossible for Ambassador Angel to carry US$1 billion in a bag. The reactions of these fake investors to this suggestion cemented our view that these “investors” were not genuine. It is important to note that as much as they said they had US$1 billion in cash, they did not say it was dirty money that needed to be cleaned. The Ambassador simply wanted to see if they really had the money they claimed to have.
“There is a lot of material that they omitted which could have provided a better view of the real motives and intentions of the Ambassador when he made some of the statements being used to scandalise him.”