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Mangudya’s response betrays panic over graft exposé

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor John Mangudya

IT is evident that the centre of power in Zimbabwe has been unnerved by the yet-to-be-screened documentary on corruption, money-laundering and gold smuggling, produced by Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit.

The much-hyped documentary, titled Unveiling Zimbabwe’s Dark Secrets, is an investigation into the illicit gold trade, money-laundering and corruption linking the elite and politicians in Zimbabwe, allegedly reaching the highest office in the land.

“The leaked snippets of the unscreened documentary omit the bank’s responses to 32 questions Al Jazeera Investigative Unit posed to the bank in connection with the allegations. In the spirit of transparency and social responsibility, the bank responded to all the 32 questions in detail on February 27, 2023 and the responses clearly show that the narrative, so far purveyed, is nothing but false,” Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor John Mangudya moaned, and attempted to dismiss the documentary as malicious efforts to tarnish both the image of the central bank and the country.

He was the highest-ranked government official to respond to the four-part documentary series, excluding the irrational threat by Zanu PF information director Tafadzwa Mugwadi to “start removing satellite dishes from people’s houses who are not patriotic to Zimbabwe”.

Being caught up in murky or quasi-fiscal activities is nothing new to the central bank in the southern African country.

The central bank has been heavily involved in all sorts of schemes ranging from supplying farming inputs and equipment, to incentives for importing fuel from since the time of former governor, Gideon Gono.

In fact, at the height of the southern African country’s decade-long economic crisis which saw inflation spiking to 500 billion percent in 2008, funding for most government departments was coming via the central bank. Official government records show that it accumulated more than US$500 million in debts during Gono’s tenure.

The Al Jazeera documentary appears to show that Mangudya’s edition of the central bank is involved in much more darker pursuits.

“Criminal networks turn dirty cash into gold, which is sold around the world. The investigation leads to the highest offices of state in southern Africa,” the Al Jazeera teaser said.

Mangudya took umbrage with the description of the central bank as “Southern Africa’s laundromat” and “Southern Africa’s laundry service” to describe its role in alleged money-laundering by local businessman and gold dealer Ewan Macmillan, who is also recorded in the documentary saying Mangudya was on speed dial.

“The bank is disappointed that either Al Jazeera Investigative Unit has not included the bank’s responses in the information they have leaked to or shared with their selected media houses and journalists, or the concerned journalists have elected to ignore the bank’s responses and only published the fake allegations in a malicious pursuit of a hidden agenda, unknown to the bank or Al Jazeera.”

What hidden agenda, Mr Governor? Why not wait for the documentary to come out and then respond? The truth, as the saying goes, will set you free.


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