Pressure mounts on Government over ‘Gold Mafia’; petition over Angel’s assets seizure initiated

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By Darlington Gatsi

CORRUPTION watchdog Transparency International Zimbabwe (TIZ) has piled pressure on government to act on individuals implicated in a gold smuggling ring exposed by Al Jazeera’s ‘Gold Mafia’ documentary.

Al Jazeera last Thursday aired the first part of a docu-series which exposed how politically connected individuals are laundering money and smuggling Zimbabwe’s precious minerals.

In ‘Gold Mafia’ President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Ambassador Uebert Madzanire alias Angel is shown as the face of gold smuggling in Zimbabwe.

TIZ said the government should revoke licences of individuals implicated.

“Transparency International calls on the Financial Intelligence Unit, Zimbabwe Republic Police and the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate further and cause necessary reforms to end such activities in the country.

“Law enforcement, anti-corruption agencies and regulatory authorities should immediately revoke gold trade and export licenses given to the implicated individuals and corporations, pending an investigation into the allegations,” reads the statement.

The documentary rattled ruling party Zanu PF sympathisers who dismissed it as ‘hot air’.

In the documentary self-styled cleric, Angel, unknowingly reveals the web of gold smugglers which has controversial Henrietta Rushwaya, Kamlesh Pattni and Simon Rudland.

State institutions such as the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) and Fidelity Printers and Refineries are shown as the laundry machines to clean dirty money.

“As the documentary highlights, more and more cartels work with individuals and institutions in Zimbabwe to move dirty money using anonymous trusts and shell companies in tax havens and other secretive jurisdictions.

“This insidious relationship facilitates organised crime and huge outflows of gold and other precious minerals. In particular, the documentary exposes incidences of alleged under invoicing and under declarations by registered gold dealers to Fidelity Printers and the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, alleging even higher losses than previously assumed.

“This reduces the country’s ability to build critical infrastructure and support the needs of the population or respond to urgent challenges. To combat this, the government of Zimbabwe should strengthen mutual legal assistance with other involved jurisdictions to facilitate the exchange of information. They must also ensure that such institutions have the capacity to manage mutual legal assistance requests,” read the statement further.

Government has been mum on the docu-series.

However pressure is mounting on President Mnangagwa to act on Angel who is considered as an architect of gold smuggling.

An online  petition has been initiated by one Cathy Tshezi calling for Angel’s assets in the United Kingdom to be frozen and had by time of publication reached over 10 000 signatories.

“The people of Zimbabwe are suffering as a result of these acts and they are faced with hardship and live in poverty. Zimbabwe has its economy collapsed yet it’s got enough resources to sustain the nation and create jobs for the masses.

“The health care lacks equipment, medication and the people to provide care – as health professionals have fled the country in search of better salaries elsewhere in the diaspora,” reads the petition.