Gold Mafia: Airport security boss apologises

Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) head of security Cleopas Chidodo y

CIVIL Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) head of security Cleopas Chidodo yesterday apologised to former First Lady Grace Mugabe after he told Al Jazeera journalists that she smuggled diamonds and ivory out of the country.

Chidodo name-dropped Grace to undercover Al Jazeera journalists doing a documentary on gold smuggling and money laundering.

In his apology, Chidodo said he was coerced into fabricating falsehoods against Grace in exchange for foreign scholarships for his family members.

“I wish to render my unconditional apologies to Grace Mugabe and former First Family for the falsehoods I mentioned about them in the said episode,” he said.

“I wish to clarify that I never willingly presented myself to provide any information to Al Jazeera News Network. It was unwise, immature and extremely unfortunate that I resorted to lying, soiling the reputation of Mugabe and her family.

“Individuals who secretly recorded me had actually approached me intending to offer my family scholarships to study abroad.

“It was during this meeting that the subject changed and they revealed to my shock that they actually intended to smuggle minerals out of Zimbabwe.”

He accused the Al Jazeera undercover journalists of manipulating him by spiking his drinks.

Chidodo’s assets were last month frozen by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) to expedite investigations on his involvement in the alleged scam.

Three other RBZ officials who revealed to Al Jazeera how they facilitated gold smuggling had their assets frozen as well.

Government says it has written to Al Jazeera demanding evidence of gold smuggling and money laundering after President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his wife, Auxillia, were implicated.

Mnangagwa’s ambassador-at-large Uebert Angel, born Uebert Mudzanire, featured prominently in the documentary spilling the beans and name dropping a number of prominent individuals.

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