Zimbabwean police are investigating allegations of money laundering and corruption around gold sales made in an Al Jazeera documentary titled “Gold Mafia.” The documentary accuses several prominent Zimbabweans, including businesspeople and officials of Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe subsidiaries, of engaging in illegal activities. The accused individuals include Uebert Angel, Simon Rudland, Ewan McMillan, Cleopas Chidodo, David Chirozvi, Mehlululi Dube, and Fradreck Kunaka.
The RBZ’s Financial Intelligence Unit has frozen the bank accounts of the accused individuals, and there are unconfirmed reports that some of them may have been questioned by the police. However, national police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi did not confirm any arrests.
Simon Rudland denied involvement in any of the alleged gold deals and criticized the documentary as “sensationalized” and lacking in factual attributions. The documentary portrays Rudland and McMillan as smugglers who have deals with Fidelity Printers and Refiners to deliver gold bought from small-scale miners to the refinery and export it to Dubai, allegedly laundering millions of dollars.
The documentary also alleges that Uebert Angel offered to use his diplomatic status to carry large volumes of dirty cash into Zimbabwe as part of a laundering operation involving gold smuggling, dropping the name of the President to Al Jazeera’s undercover reporters. The documentary also features Kenyan-born Mr. Pattni, who calls himself Brother Paul, as someone who could help the undercover reporters launder more than $100 million.
The documentary exposes Cleopas Chidodo, the Head of Security at Airports Company of Zimbabwe, as assisting gold smugglers to avoid detection while carrying their contraband to Dubai through the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport. Meanwhile, David Chirozvi, the head of finance at the Reserve Bank subsidiary Aurex Jewelry, is also implicated in the alleged illegal activities.
Fradreck Kunaka, the general manager of Fidelity Printers and Refiners, was allegedly on the payroll of the gold mafia, receiving kickbacks of $30,000 a month, according to the documentary. Mehlululi Dube, associated with Golden Beryl (Private) Limited, was allegedly being paid $3,000 per month by the gold smuggling syndicate.
The Zimbabwe Republic Police is conducting investigations, and further details will be provided to the public and media once the initial inquiries are complete, according to Assistant Commissioner Nyathi. The allegations made in the documentary have serious implications for Zimbabwe’s reputation and economy, and it remains to be seen how the investigations will progress.