FINANCE minister Mthuli Ncube and Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor John Mangudya are expected to face grilling soon from Parliament over allegations that the Central Bank was being used as a conduit for money laundering and other illicit activities.
Members of the Parliament (MPs) have said they will push for answers from the ministers of Finance, Mines and RBZ governor when Parliament reconvenes on May 9.
Public Accounts Committee (Pac) Chairperson Brian Dube said those implicated in the international news channel Al Jazeera’s documentary titled Gold Mafia: The Laundering Service will be summoned by Parliament.
“We want all thieves in jail. When we open Parliament, we are calling them so that they give us a ministerial statement, especially the Ministry of mines,” Dube said in a telephone interview with NewsDay.
“They should be able to give us answers on what exactly happened and we also want to know what action has been taken on those implicated in the documentary,” he added.
Speaking during an interview hosted by Free Talk, legislators who attended the show noted the need for those implicated to be held accountable.
“We are calling the minister of Finance, RBZ, Fidelity Printers, Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe and other individuals who were mentioned in this gold mafia documentary,” Pac member Edwin Mushoriwa and Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) MP for Dzivarasekwa said.
“We need to get to the bottom of this matter and as a public accounts committee member, we are calling them to answer on these allegations when Parliament resumes. We want to give them an opportunity to explain themselves and failure to appear before the committee will confirm that they are guilty.”
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The Al Jazeera investigation exposed how the Central Bank was allegedly being used to “clean” proceeds of dirty money amounting to several millions of United States dollars. The documentary exposed how well-connected figures were using their links with authorities in government corridors, including the Presidency, to smuggle gold and launder money.
Government initially maintained silence, while fierce Zanu PF loyalists criticised the expose as propaganda to smear the party and government ahead of this year’s elections.
However, the government eventually issued a statement vowing to investigate those implicated in the Gold Mafia exposé.
During the Free Talk discussion, CCC MP for Harare North, Allan Norman Markham said citizens deserved answers.
“Those implicated are all sitting quietly waiting for what the other next episode reveals. They are doing nothing, waiting for the noise to die down and hope something from the election side will cover for them,” Markham said.
CCC MP for Warren Park Constituency Shakespeare Hamauswa said these were fertile grounds for President Emmerson Mnangagwa to resign following continuous incidents of name dropping by his Ambassador-at-large Uebert Madzanire, aka Uebert Angel.
MDC-T Senator Morgen Komichi said Zimbabwe has earned a notorious tag of a gold mafia country.
“It will be better if the Finance ministry gives a statement in Parliament explaining to people what the Gold Mafia is and what action has been taken to make sure that culprits are brought to book,” Komichi said.
In an interview with NewsDay, Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission spokesperson Thandiwe Mlobane said they are investigating those implicated.
“We are following our mandate and our mandate is to investigate all forms of corruption. That is what we are doing. We are not able to disclose how far we have gone because that jeopardises our investigations,” Mlobane said.
Al Jazeera released its last episode of the four-part documentary on Friday which exposes alleged illicit activities of some top government officials, prophets, pastors, as well as business people said to be profiting from illegal movement of gold deals.
Recently, the RBZ froze assets of four individuals who said they assisted a long-running gold smuggling and money laundering ring.
The four men, all locals, made the statements in the documentary.
Government has been accused of ignoring corruption associated with senior officials within the ruling Zanu PF party. Critics say corruption is the reason why the country's economy has remained stuck in the doldrums for years.