ALLEGED GOLD MAFIA: INDEPENDENT, INTERNATIONAL FORENSIC INVESTIGATION REQUIRED
On the 23rd of March 2023, Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit commenced the release of a four-part series that exposes severe allegations of money laundering, gold smuggling, illicit financial flows, underhand gold trading, abuse of diplomatic privileges and other corrupt activities by political elites and those closely connected to them.
Although there remain two episodes to air, information and leads released so far demand the immediate establishment of an independent international forensic investigation into the shocking findings contained in the documentary.
We are deeply concerned by the severe disregard of formal state institutions by the persons named and referred to in the documentary.
There is a strong suggestion that political elites are deliberately setting up personal networks of businesspersons-cum-criminals that operate to undermine constitutional accountability.
It is a matter of regret that state institutions that are constitutionally mandated to investigate and bring to book those reasonably suspected of corruption, maladministration and criminal abuse of office including the Zimbabwe Republic Police and the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission neglect to investigate the issues and act as would be expected.
The documentary further raises a serious concern for Zimbabwean citizens that there is a link between the illicit gold trade and political finance intended to capture state institutions in the forthcoming elections which poses a potential threat to the constitutional imperatives and safeguards set out in the Constitution.
These safeguards are designed to ensure the best interests of the citizens are served at all times by accountable public officials created for that purpose and not shadowy, parallel formations.
To be sure, a Citizens’ Government will put the citizens first and take the fight against money laundering and corruption seriously.
In the New Great Zimbabwe, public funds will service citizens’ needs and not line the pockets of a few.
The Central Bank will be independent and not open to abuse by political elites for the benefit of a few. Citizens will be at the centre of all government policy.
We will also strengthen institutions that are responsible for detecting financial crimes. The Financial Intelligence Unit will be reformed and will go after criminals, not political opponents.
ZACC will have the independence and teeth to go after the corrupt, whoever they are.
The Al Jazeera documentary unearths unconscionable if not criminal amounts of gold allegedly smuggled and massive potential revenue loss to the State.
This is more so in light of the breakdown of basic social services including the public health delivery system, the state education system, road infrastructure, and electricity supply as well as mounting poverty and hunger among the populace.
Additionally, there is an added risk to our standing in the global economy given the unanswered claims of chronic money laundering and abuse of our central bank system.
In the circumstances, we call for a full, independent, international investigation in respect of all those who are implicated and mentioned.