Airport official claims Al Jazeera reporters drugged him before he “lied”
Civil Aviation Authority (CAAZ) Security Manager Cleopas Chidodo has apologised to former First Lady Grace Mugabe saying he lied in the Al Jazeera ‘Gold Mafia’ documentary that she was involved in ivory smuggling.
Chidodo, featured on Gold Mafia’s episode four bizarrely said he was drugged by the Al Jazeera journalists before he allegedly accused Grace of being involved in poaching and smuggling of ivory and gold during the time of her late husband Robert Mugabe was President.
Mugabe was removed from power through a military coup in November 2017. He died from prostate cancer in a Singapore hospital in 2019.
In a video shared on social media platforms, Chidodo dismissed his utterances saying the reporters first claimed that they wanted to offer his children scholarships abroad before they changed the subject.
“I wish to render my unconditional apology to the former First Lady Grace Mugabe and the entire former First family for the falsehood I mentioned about them in the recently aired Al Jazeera Gold Mafia series,” said Chidodo.
“I wish to clarify that I never presented myself willingly to provide information. The individuals who secretly recorded me had actually approached me intending to offer my family scholarships to study abroad.
“It was in this meeting that the subject changed and revealed to my shock that they actually intended on smuggling minerals out of Zimbabwe.
“I wish the general public to know that it is untrue that Grace did the various illegal things I mentioned in the video. Specifically, it is untrue that she killed elephants for ivory. It is untrue that she smuggled the said ivory in hordes of containers through Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport.
“It is untrue that Grace would send a plane to Chiadzwa diamond fields to collect diamonds and smuggle them. It is untrue that she devised a scheme to smuggle minerals and ivory behind Mugabe’s back.
“It is untrue that Grace and the former First Family made a lot of money smuggling minerals out of the country.
“I am aware of the reputational damage I have caused the former First Family and in particular Grace and I sincerely apologise for the falsehoods that have stained the image of the former First Family and Grace.”
He added that the statements that he made “were coerced by the individuals secretly recording me which moment does not appear in the selective clips that they decided to show the world
“The time of the meeting and indeed the recording, my mental faculties had been manipulated by what I assume to be drinks spiked by a suppressant, to the extent that I do not even recall saying the said statements even though I acknowledge that the video shows me to do so.
“It was unwise, immature and extremely unfortunate that I resorted to lying as I did so soiling the reputation of Grace and her family.” Chidodo added.
CLEOPAS CHIDODO'S PROFUSE APOLOGY TO GRACE MUGABE
Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe's security manager – Cleopas Chidodo – has profusely apologised to former first lady Grace Mugabe and wholly retracted what he says were "induced falsehoods" broadcast by Al… pic.twitter.com/ri64gAgYA4
— Prof Jonathan Moyo (@ProfJNMoyo) May 4, 2023