By Staff Reporter
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has expressed concern over snippets of the yet to be screened Qatar based television network Al Jazeera documentary on illicit gold dealings, corruption and money laundering activities in the country.
The documentary was supposed to have premiered last week but the television network without further explanations highlighted that it had been put on hold.
In a statement, RBZ Governor John Mangudya said individuals interviewed and are shown in the documentary snippets do not work for the central bank.
“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.
“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,” said Mangudya
He added “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. 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. It is also disturbing that the scurrilous allegations have largely been widely and recklessly reported by a well-known and outspoken social media activist, elements of the local media and Zimbabwean-linked digital media platforms, who are closer to home to take responsibility by independently verifying the damaging and unproven allegations before publishing or peddling them.”
Mangudya threatened to take legal actions against the interviewees before dismissing the allegations as false.
“The Bank reserves its rights to take appropriate legal action or initiate necessary sanctions against the interviewees and purveyors of the fake news to protect its fiduciary responsibilities in the national interests. Meanwhile, the Bank advises the public to dismiss the false allegations with the contempt they deserve. The Bank remains confident that the truth cannot be hidden, and that the truth shall prevail.” Mangudya said