CIVIC organisations in the country yesterday expressed fury over President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government’s failure to police border areas, where there is rampant smuggling of minerals.
BY OWN CORRESPONDENT
In a joint statement over continued cases of corruption and smuggling under the watch of Mnangagwa, the civic groups said the President should ensure the country’s international entry points are not porous.
The development follows the recent arrest of Zimbabwe Miners Federation president Henrietta Rushwaya at Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport with 6kg of gold destined for Dubai.
“We the civil society organisations in Zimbabwe, united in our diversity by our common desire for economic justice and improvement of human security for the Zimbabwean people, note with grave concern the rampant theft and smuggling of Zimbabwe’s mineral wealth by organised crime syndicates linked to the country’s ruling elites,” the statement read.
They said last year Mnangagwa made remarks during an anti-corruption indaba to the effect that a company based in the United Arab Emirates confirmed buying US$60 million worth of gold from Zimbabwe through the parallel market.
“No one was arrested even though the company which spoke to President Mnangagwa volunteered the identities of the individuals to him. We recall that when lucrative diamond fields were discovered in Marange in 2006, criminal gangs in government quickly formed dodgy companies that were registered in tax havens such as Mauritius and began pillaging the resource,” the non-governmental organisations said.
They said the fact that Rushwaya tried to escape with the 6kg of gold showed that she had confidence that her back was covered.
“One can safely assume that such modus operandi has been used before. Further, the fact that Ms Rushwaya was only arrested after a tip-off attests to the porous nature of our borders, suffice to say, contraband minerals have successfully passed through our borders before without being detected by officials.”
They called on Mnangagwa to open an independent investigation into the smuggling of minerals from Zimbabwe whose report should be published within a reasonable timeframe.