Gold Mafia exposes ED’s US$240m election war chest
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SELF-STYLED prophet and President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s ambassador-at-large Uebert Madzanire, aka Uebert Angel, has claimed that Mnangagwa will spend US$240 million for his re-election bid.
Appearing in the third episode of the four-part Al Jazeera documentary on gold smuggling and money laundering titled Gold Mafia: El Dorado that aired yesterday, Angel said: “His (Mnangagwa) election, I think they are spending like US$240 million and that is his money.”
Angel has appeared in all three episodes aired so far in which he was secretly recorded by Al Jazeera investigative journalists offering to use his diplomatic cover to facilitate gold smuggling and money laundering.
Zanu PF spokesperson Christopher Mutsvangwa and political commissar Mike Bimha were not answering their mobile phones despite repeated efforts.
The controversial prophet’s alleged involvement in the alleged criminal activities has triggered outrage in and outside the country, with Zimbabweans domiciled in South Africa threatening to demonstrate today at his Johannesburg church to demand authorities to act on his alleged corrupt deals.
Zimbabweans based in the United Kingdom will also on April 18 deliver a petition to the British government to freeze Angel’s assets.
In the documentary, Angel demanded US$200 000 from the Al Jazeera investigative journalists for him to organise a meeting with Mnangagwa, which he described as an “appreciation” fee.
“That guy (Mnangagwa) doesn’t take bribes, oh no he won’t. There is a big difference between appreciating somebody and bribing.
“You know at this level, people don’t bribe anybody, you get my point. He is not that kind of a person,” Angel said.
“When somebody got that money to spend on an election campaign, you give one million, it’s like a slap in the face, unless you say a thank you.”
During the undercover investigation, Angel’s personal assistant Rikki Doolan also claimed that government ministers needed to be “greased” to facilitate the deals.
“Obviously, once we get the ball rolling, there will be points and times along the way where people will need to be greased,” Doolan said.
In response to a public outcry over the Al Jazeera exposé, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ)’s Financial Intelligence Unit announced on Wednesday that it had frozen assets of four officials implicated in facilitating gold smuggling.
But the decision to freeze assets belonging to Cleopas Chidodo (Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe head of security, stationed at Robert Gabriel Mugabe Internal Airport), David Chirozvi (RBZ’s Aurex Jewellery head of finance), Mehluleli Dube (Fidelity Printers and Refiners gold-buying manager) and Fredrick Kunaka (Fidelity Printers and Refiners general manager) sparked outrage, with critics saying the authorities were targeting the small fish, leaving the kingpins involved in the alleged gold smuggling and money laundering scandal.
On Tuesday, government announced that it had launched a probe into the corruption allegation raised in the Al Jazeera exposé.
Zimbabwe Miners Federation president Henrietta Rushwaya and gold dealer Ewan MacMillan were also implicated in the Gold Mafia exposé.
Exiled former Cabinet minister Jonathan Moyo said Angel’s assets should also be frozen.
“It would be unwise to go after all of these pikininis on grounds that they incriminate themselves in the documentary when everyone has seen that their handlers, the real Gold Mafia as described in the documentary, have done more and better self-incrimination, and basically nailed themselves beyond any escape,” Moyo said on Twitter.
“For example, ambassador plenipotentiary Uebert Angel said he owns and runs something called Billion Group, which facilitates gold smuggling and money laundering.
“There is no reason for not freezing the assets of the ambassador’s Billion Group, given what he says about it in the documentary!”
Centre for Natural Resource Governance director Farai Maguwu urged government to investigate “everyone” implicated in the documentary.
“First, there is need to investigate all the people who are involved, that is everybody mentioned, whether they are residents of Zimbabwe or not in Zimbabwe,” Maguwu said.
“We have international police who can assist the police to arrest whoever has been fingered in this gold looting heist. We have Uebert Angel who has been mentioned. He seemed to be one of the kingpins of the Gold Mafia, and we are not hearing anything that has been done, either to freeze his assets or to get him arrested.” _*NewsDay*_