The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has refuted claims made in the widely publicized, but as of yet unaired, Aljazeera documentary on corruption in Zimbabwe that the Bank is a key player in the smuggling of the nation’s mineral riches.
The documentary called ‘Unveiling Zimbabwe’s Dark Secrets’ has since been delayed to be published but has already ruffled feathers of several key state actors, including the RBZ Governor Dr John Mangudya and President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s appointed ambassador at large Eubert Angel.
In a statement released this morning, the RBZ accuses Aljazeera of having a sinister agenda claiming that 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.
“The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (the Bank) is concerned and disturbed by sensationally wild, false and malicious media reports, carried in snippets of an unscreened Al Jazeera documentary, produced by the network’s Investigative Unit, purveying the impression that the Bank is “Southern Africa’s laundromat” or “Southern Africa’s laundry service” for an alleged African gold mafia involved in illicit gold dealings, corruption and money laundering,” reads the statement.
It said the snippets cite a few boastful and name-dropping individuals, who neither work for nor represent the Bank in any capacity, as sources of the allegations.
“The outrageous reports quote one of the cited individuals as boasting that he has diplomatic cover to “fly dirty cash into Zimbabwe where it can be laundered through gold and other investments”. Another individual is reported to have asserted that “there is an opportunity, a hell of a big opportunity to wash money here [in Zimbabwe]”. Yet another self-serving claim is that one individual bragged that his phone “is on speed dial” with the Bank’s Governor. These are all false and malicious allegations.”
“It is unbelievable that such bizarre claims, allegedly made by private individuals who have no relationship with the Bank whatsoever, have been elevated to gospel truths and published with reckless abandon. It is particularly strange that the reports claim that “through the Bank, Government is using illicit ways as a scheme to bust international sanctions placed on political leaders and government entities”. The Bank is not a sanctioned entity, and the cited individuals are not sanctioned persons either.”
It further stated, “There are no sanctions on Zimbabwean exports and imports, including trade in gold, to warrant Zimbabwe to “circumvent international sanctions” through illicit trade in gold. As such, the claim that there is “a scheme to bust international sanctions using illicit ways” shows beyond doubt that the peddlers of this narrative have a sinister agenda with nefarious objectives of tarnishing both the Bank and the Republic of Zimbabwe,”
“In the spirit of transparency and social responsibility, the Bank responded to all the 32 questions in detail on 27 February 2023 and the responses clearly show that the narrative, so far purveyed, is nothing but false. 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.”
Since the news on the release of this documentary was announced over a week ago by the Qatar-based media house, this is the first time a government entity has officially responded to the allegations.
Last week, Nick Mangwana who is Information and Publicity ministry secretary tweeted, “Is there corruption in Zimbabwe? Yes. Is there smuggling of minerals and forex out of the country? Yes. Is there money laundering in Zimbabwe? Yes, including by non-governmental (organisations.) Is the government fully committed to getting rid of all the above ills? That is a fact.”
Analysts contend that this response to a documentary that has not yet been released could indicate that the government is in a panic mode.
“The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor John Mangudya has issued a statement denying what was said in snippets of the Al Jazeera documentary. Mr Mangudya has been badly advised, you don’t comment on something you haven’t seen. With this statement he has destroyed the alibis used!,” tweeted anti-corruption activist and journalist, Hopewell Chin’ono.