Zimbabwe News

Gold Mafia: Diplomatic immunities and privileges being abused to commit transnational organised crimes

A regional anti-corruption lobby group has called on the United Nations to investigate the abuse of diplomatic privileges to facilitate gold smuggling and illicit financial flow.

This follows the broadcasting of Al Jazeera ‘Gold Mafia’ documentary which laid bare how a web smuggled gold to Dubai and laundered money using State institutions.

The four part docu-series reveals Zimbabwe’s Ambassador At Large Uebert Mudzanire alias Angel as the face of a gold smuggling and money laundering in Zimbabwe.

Southern African Anti-Corruption Network in a statement said diplomats are abusing their privileges to commit crimes.

“Uebert Angel, the Presidential Envoy and Ambassador-at-large to Europe and the Americas since March 2021, was secretly filmed bragging that he could move $1.2bn easily, due to his diplomatic immunities and privileges.

“It has become evident that diplomatic immunities and privileges are being weaponized to commit transnational organised crimes by these organised syndicates.

“All allegations of illicit financial flows from Zimbabwe, including serious allegations of abuse of diplomatic immunity, illicit gold trading, corruption and money laundering in the mining sector need serious investigations by the authorities. We urge international bodies such as the United Nations (UN) to raise concerns when diplomatic immunities and privileges are abused to facilitate transnational organised crimes,” read the statement.

Angel is captured on camera by investigative reporters revealing how he uses his diplomatic privileges to waltz through security checkpoints without being checked and his connections in government to facilitate illegal deals.

The self-styled cleric has since denied the allegations claiming it was an act.

“The Government of Zimbabwe should strengthen mutual legal assistance with other involved jurisdictions to facilitate the exchange of information in dealing with all allegations raised by Al Jazeera. They must also ensure that such institutions in their respective countries have the capacity to manage mutual legal assistance requests.

“There is a need to strengthen security at Robert Mugabe International Airport to prohibit and sanction the smuggling of gold from Zimbabwe.

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

“SAACON condemns selective application of the law in the freezing of assets of implicated individuals since it has gathered information that individuals such as Henrietta Rushwaya have been spared,” read the statement further.

In other news – Job Sikhala faces new charges

Job Sikhala is set to appear in court on Thursday on an alleged disorderly conduct charge, bringing to four the cases he is facing after being denied bail on the other three.

The Zengeza West MP has remained on pre-trial detention for the past 10 months after his arrest in June last year.Learn More

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