16th April 2023
Sometime early this year, it was rumoured that Al Jazeera was to publish some information about the smuggling and looting of resources by the political elite and their connections in Zimbabwe.
We all waited with bated breath for the Al Jazeera expose.
It was delayed, but when the first episode was published on Thursday 23/03/2023, it lived up to its billing, and it gripped the nation of Zimbabwe. It drew similar interest in neighbouring South Africa as well as far afield as Kenya, the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates.
Three more episodes were to follow in instalments a week apart as follows;-
An intricate web of illicit activities operated by mainly Zimbabwean, South African, British, UAE and Kenyan nationals was laid bare for the world to see.
One of the major players therein is a dual Zimbabwe British citizen, Eubert Angel Mudzanire (Presidential Envoy and Ambassador at large to Europe and the Americas for Zimbabwe), who also is the founder of Spirit Embassy Church which operates in the UK. He potentially runs other businesses in the UK either directly or via proxies.
It stands to reason that Eubert Angel’s money laundering and smuggling activities may extend to the jurisdiction of the UK since he resides in the UK and is a frequent international traveller with a Zimbabwean Diplomatic Passport.
Other major players therein include at least one South African citizen, Mohamed Khan, who owns PKSA and SALT Asset Management, South African financial services firms. These two firms help Simon Rudland, a Zimbabwean, who co-owns Gold Leaf Tobacco, one of the largest cigarette manufacturers in South Africa, and others launder large sums of money through fake invoices and stolen identities. Simon Rudland lends some of his money to Zimbabwe’s government through Fidelity Printers and Refinery, owned by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ). In exchange, RBZ lets Simon Rudland’s couriers smuggle millions of dollars’ worth of gold from Zimbabwe to Dubai for sale.
Mohamed Khan’s financial services firms launder large sums of money through fake invoices and bribing banks. Standard Bank and ABSA turn a blind eye or collude with Mohamed Khan, as revealed in the documentary.
Also in the mix is one Howard “Howie” Baker, a Zimbabwean, who owns several gold-trading companies, including Aulion Global Trading, the firm at the centre of gold laundering operations in UAE. He also owns Rappa Refinery, a gold refinery in South Africa which supplies Aulion Global Trading with gold.
The President of Zimbabwe Miners Federation, Henrietta Rushwaya (Emmerson Mnangagwa’s niece) is also implicated in the money laundering and smuggling of gold from Zimbabwe to UAE.
And then there is Cleopas Chidodo, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAAZ) Security Manager, who, by his own admission, facilitated the smuggling of Gold, Diamonds, other precious minerals and Ivory from Zimbabwe as well as millions of laundered cash to and from Zimbabwe through Robert Mugabe International Airport. The smuggling and money laundering were by proxies of and couriers for the former first family, the Mugabes and by proxies of and couriers for the current first family, the Mnangagwas.
Scott Sakupwanya, the flamboyant owner of Better Brands Jewellery, ZANU-PF functionary and candidate for Mabvuku, labelled “The New Mr Gold”, also features prominently in the 4 episode Al Jazeera “Gold Mafia” documentary, as does his former boss, Ewan Macmillan, also a Zimbabwean citizen closely connected to Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Also implicated were a Canadian national, Alistair Mathias and a Kenyan national, Kamlesh Pattni, both of whom boasted that Emmerson Mnangagwa was their partner in corruption.
Every money launderer in the documentary claims that Emmerson Mnangagwa, the President of Zimbabwe, is their partner in corruption.
The proceeds from these gold shenanigans do not benefit the Zimbabwean populace; instead, money from sales is diverted to offshore bank accounts of the few elites involved in the looting. It is estimated that Zimbabwe is prejudiced by US$100,000 million every day in lost revenue from the looted gold sales. The gold is illegally moved from Zimbabwe to Dubai.
Considering the collapsed state of all sectors of the Zimbabwean economy and the dilapidated state of the health infrastructure (e.g. there is only one radiotherapy machine in government hospitals, and it is currently not working) and the high mortality rate among all patients, including cancer patients, Zimbabweans find this level of looting of national resources grossly immoral.
At the end of it all, Zimbabweans were, understandably, aghast at the extent of corruption, the amounts of gold that had been smuggled out of Zimbabwe, the obscene amounts of money laundered and lined up the pockets of a few, including the President of Zimbabwe and his cronies.
In summary, what we learnt from the 4-episode Al Jazeera “Gold Mafia” is that Zimbabwe’s gold is being exported illegally by a few individuals (e.g. Henrietta Rushwaya) connected to President Mnangagwa with the help of Airport security and that the proceeds are paid to a few individuals instead of the state. We also learnt that Ambassadors at large (e.g. Eubert Angel Mudzanire) were Mnangagwa’s personal conduit for self-enriching and illegal, corrupt deals.
We also learnt that Zimbabwe is losing billions of dollars to illicit financial flows.
According to global research group (2020), Zimbabwe is losing at least 1.5 billion dollars a year through the smuggling of gold alone. When we factor in other precious minerals and other resources, this figure runs into tens of billions.
We also learnt that diplomatic immunity is being exploited to smuggle contraband internationally by the likes of Eubert Angel Mudzanire and the Presidential entourage whenever Mnangagwa goes on international trips. Little wonder Emmerson Mnangagwa travels with such a large entourage.
Zimbabwe fares poorly on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index and on a number of other reputable international indices, such as the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)’s Democracy Index and Freedom House’s “Freedom In the World” annual report.
Cry our beloved country.
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By Information & Publicity Team
Restoration of Human Rights (ROHR) Zimbabwe