Govt accused of targeting small fish in alleged Gold Mafia assets freeze
The Government of Zimbabwe has been slammed for ‘conveniently’ leaving out the ‘bigwigs’ like Ewan Macmillan, Simon Rudland, Kamlesh Pattni, Uebert Angel and Henrietta Rushwaya exposed in the “gold mafia” documentary by Al Jazeera while freezing assets of the “small fish” who admitted facilitating smuggling of the precious mineral.
On Thursday, Reserve Bank’s Financial Intelligence Unit announced in the State controlled newspaper, Herald, that it had frozen assets of Cleopas Chidodo (airport security manager), David Chirozvi (RBZ Aurex Jewellery head finance), Fredrick Kunaka (Fidelity Printers GM), Mehluleli Dube (Fidelity gold-buying manager) who openly revealed in the episode 2 of the documentary how they assist alleged ‘big gold smugglers’ like Macmillan and Rudland and their network to illegally move gold out of the country.
“You are being directed to immediately identify and freeze all assets of the following individuals; Cleopas Chidodo, David Chirozvi, Mehlululi Dube and Fredrick Kunaka. May you also freeze all assets of legal persons and arrangements associated with them. Kindly treat this request as urgent,” read the memo in part.
Observers have, however, slammed government for only targeting small individuals exposed in the Al Jazeera documentary while leaving the masterminds.
Exiled former cabinet minister Jonathan Moyo rebuked government for failing to freeze Uebert Angel’s assets following his inclusion in the documentary.
“Save that it is a misnomer to call Cleopas Chidodo, David Chirozvi, Mehluli Dube and Fredrik Kunaka, ‘Gold Mafia suspects’.
“Far from it, none of these suspects are the ‘Gold Mafia’, as captured in the Al Jazeera documentary; rather at worst they can best be described as ‘Gold Mafia Enablers’ or ‘Gold Mafia Pikininis’; otherwise they are all very important key ‘Gold Mafia Witnesses,” he wrote on his official Twitter handle.
Moyo further said: “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.
“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!”
Award winning journalist Hopewell Chin’ono said the targeted individuals were “only enablers being sacrificed for the big ones.”
“I have read the article, there is no Angel, there is no Henrietta Rushwaya, there is no Ewan Macmillan, there is no Kamlesh Pattni.
“Cleopas Chidodo, David Chirozvi, Mehluli Dube and Fredrik Kunaka are not the Gold Mafia, they are only enablers being sacrificed for the big ones,” he said.
Nicolate Gwati, a Twitter user also commented accusing President Emmerson Mnangagwa of protecting his niece Rushwaya.
“Henrietta Rushwaya is a gold smuggler. She was caught red handed smuggling 6.5kg of gold out of the country and has also been implicated in the Gold Mafia saga BUT she is not under arrest and her assets are not frozen. Mnangagwa is protecting his niece,”she said.
Zanu-PF activist Jones Musara, however, praised Mnangagwa for fighting corruption.
“Assets of alleged Gold Mafia frozen by the RBZ’s FIU. Kudos to President Emmerson Mnangagwa who long set the anti-corruption tone which gave latitude to the RBZ’s Financial Intelligence Unit to launch investigations on the Aljazeera documentary interviewees. Indeed #EDWORKS against corruption,” he said.
Chemical engineer, lecturer and political analyst Kudzai Mtisi tweeted; “The propaganda documentary will end without anything useful Ambassador Angel made it clear to these fake investors that: 🇿🇼ED doesn’t take bribes.
“Imagine they were involving a bribe that they weren’t asked for??? This was clear “phishing”. In fact, Angel’s storyline was: ED isn’t a hungry man looking for bribes.
“The Propaganda Documentary clearly used Ambassador Angel for hype…. Heavily editing it to create a narrative…. However the parts they showed clearly reveals that the WORST he did was trying to get them to INVEST in Zim. It was MAINLY about getting the MONEY to Zim. Nothing else.”