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Monday, January 30, 2023
HomeNews‘Ruling Elites Oiling Organized Crime, Smuggling’

‘Ruling Elites Oiling Organized Crime, Smuggling’

Ruling elites are at the center of organized crime syndicates which are looting Zimbabwe’s natural resources wealth, civil society groups  have bemoaned.

In a joint statement, the civil society groups under the banner of Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum appealed to government to institute an independent investigations on smuggling of minerals from Zimbabwe.

“The arrest of Ms. Henrietta Rushwaya is confirmation of a complex web of illicit financial flows perpetrated by organized criminal syndicates. It is clear that the Rushwaya case is just but one of the many undetected cases of resource leakages through our porous ports of entry.

“We are deeply concerned that criminal syndicates have spread their tentacles on major minerals like gold, diamond, and black granite. Ms Rushwaya’s daring attempt to fly out through Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport suggests her confidence in the knowledge that her back was covered.

“One can safely assume that such modus operandi have been used before,” read part of the statement.

Zimbabwe is losing significant gold according to Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube this is estimated between 30 to 34 tonnes of gold, smuggled into neighboring South Africa alone. CSOs believe this loss would be over $20 billion annually, ‘if all minerals and semi-precious gems being smuggled are accounted for.’

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The CSOs said this was a similar recurrence to pillaging of lucrative diamond fields in Marange in 2006, by criminal gangs linked to dodgy companies registered in tax havens such as Mauritius.

“The current Rushwaya scandal is proof that criminal dealings in minerals have continued unabated for decades. When the nation’s resources are plundered in this manner, it is the ordinary citizens who suffer.

“We are equally concerned with the culture of impunity that characterizes cases of grand corruption or those involving the illegal exploitation of mineral wealth by political elites. Instead of addressing grand corruption and looting, artisanal, and small scale miners are persecuted and regarded as criminals,” read part of the joint statement.

Criminal gangs are behind current economic muddle and political instability, laundering money, smuggling gold in connivance with politicians who offer them protection.

The Zimbabwe civil society believes the country is. Indeed, the country has enough resources to finance its own recovery and development, only if looting and corruption in the mining sector is resolved.

The grouping urged government to investigate the Rushwaya gold smuggling case and bring everyone involved to book.

“Thoroughly investigate Henrietta Rushwaya and the Zimbabwe Miners Federation and bring all those involved in the attempted smuggling of minerals to book. Ensure non-interference with the judiciary as they handle the Rushwaya case in particular as well as other cases relating to resource looting and corruption.

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“Open an independent investigation into the smuggling of minerals from Zimbabwe whose report should be published within a reasonable timeframe. Review the criminal justice system to ensure stiffer penalties on those who smuggle minerals,” further reads the the statement.

CSOs also called on government to enact a whistle-blower protection legislation in order to protect whistle blowers, as well as investigate foreign dealers colluding with local criminals to smuggle.

 

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