The Zimbabwean government has finally responded to the ‘damning’ allegations made in the Al Jazeera documentary, stating it has ordered an investigation after several individuals associated with the government involved in gold smuggling and money laundering.
The Gold Mafia, a four-part Al Jazeera documentary that sparked outrage in the country, was recorded by Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit and was based on dozens of undercover operations spanning three continents and thousands of documents.
It revealed how large amounts of gold are smuggled clandestinely every month from Zimbabwe, which is reported to be Africa’s sixth-largest gold producer, to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, assisting money laundering through an intricate network of shell businesses, fake invoices, and paid-off officials.
Addressing a press conference on Tuesday in Harare, Minister of Information, Publicity And Broadcasting Services, Monica Mutsvangwa said the government is taking the accusations made in the documentary seriously, and that “any person found to have engaged in acts of corruption, fraud, or any other form of crime will face the full wrath of the law.”
“Government takes note of a documentary titled ‘Gold Mafia’ currently being serialised by an international broadcasting channel which purports to expose a network of alleged laundering and gold smuggling in Zimbabwe,” she said on Tuesday.
“Government takes the allegations raised in the documentary seriously and has directed relevant organs to institute investigations into the issues raised therein.”
The government, according to the minister, is taking this chance to reaffirm its commitment to upholding local and foreign laws, including those governing financial transactions and the trade of gold and other precious minerals.
“Boastful behaviour and name-dropping by some personalities featured in the documentary seeking personal gain and glory should never be taken as an enunciation of government policy. Government remains seized with the matter and the nation will be kept apprised of any new developments,” Mutsvangwa said in an apparent reference to Uebert Angel, the presidential envoy and ambassador-at-large to Europe and the Americas who was secretly recorded bragging that he could easily move $1.2 billion due to his diplomatic immunity.
Other individuals named in the documentary as being part of smuggling rings include Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) President Henrietta Rushwaya and Kamlesh Pattni, a businessman previously involved in a gold smuggling scandal in Kenya.