FIU unfreezes accounts of ʻGold Mafiaʼ suspects

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabweʼs Financial Intelligence Unit has lifted the order freezing bank accounts
and assets of officials allegedly involved in the “Gold Mafia” of gold smuggling, money laundering and
bribery outlined in an Al Jazeera documentary.
The FIU had not identified money laundering or financial crime linked to the Al Jazeera allegations, hence
the unfreezing, but the unit made it clear that the unfreezing was without prejudice to investigations and
resulting action by law enforcement agencies. The FIU would co-operate in any international
The accounts and assets were frozen so the FIU could carry out investigations into self-incriminating
comments made by the officials in the four-episode Al Jazeera documentary.
Government had directed relevant State organs to launch investigations into the allegations made in the
documentary as some people had confessed to engaging in corrupt activities.
In a statement yesterday, the FIUʼs director general Mr Oliver Chiperesa, said the decision to unfreeze the
officialsʼ assets had been informed by a careful investigation and analysis of the documentary.
“Following the broadcast of Al Jazeeraʼs documentary series titled “The Gold Mafia” the Financial
Intelligence Unit issued a directive on 31 March 2023 directing financial institutions to identify, freeze and
report bank accounts and other financial assets owned or controlled by individuals who were alleged to
have played key roles in alleged acts of money laundering and other financial crimes.
“The FIU exercised its temporary freezing powers to ensure that any illicit proceeds connected to the
allegations in the documentary would not be dissipated or disposed of by the persons concerned and
prejudice potential future investigations,” he said.
Mr Chiperesa said the FIU had not identified any irregularities linked to allegations made in the
Assets belonging to Cleopas Chidodo, David Chirozvi, Mehlululi Dube and Frederick Kunaka had been
Chidodo is the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe head of security who was captured in Episode 2 of the
documentary narrating how he assisted gold smugglers avoid detection as they transport contraband to
Dubai via Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport, while Chirozvi is the head of finance of the RBZ
subsidiary Aurex Jewellery.
Kunaka is the General Manager of Fidelity Printers and Refiners and was allegedly on the payroll of the
gold mafia during which he received a kickback of US$30 000 a month according to the documentary.
Dube, who was allegedly being paid US$3 000 per month by the gold smuggling syndicate, is associated
with Golden Beryl Private Limited.
“The FIU, working in close collaboration with law enforcement agencies, has since concluded its analysis
of the four episodes of the Al Jazeera documentary and has also analysed the financial assets and
transactions of the persons implicated in the documentary and has determined that there is no good
cause for the freezing order to remain in place.
“The FIU has not identified transactions or assets linked to money laundering and related financial crime
connected to the allegations in the Al Jazeera documentary,” said Mr Chiperesa.
“In view of the above, the FIU has directed financial institutions to unfreeze all the accounts and other
financial assets that had been frozen pursuant to the directive of 31 March 2023.”
The FIU, said Mr Chiperesa, was ready to cooperate with any international investigations as required.
He said the unfreezing of the assets was above board.
“The unfreezing action is without prejudice to any further investigations that law enforcement agencies
may wish to commence or continue against any of the persons involved.
“Some of the allegations in the documentary relate to money laundering and financial crimes alleged to
have taken place outside Zimbabweʼʼs borders.
“The FIU, if so requested, stands ready and is indeed mandated to cooperate with any international
investigations against any of the persons or entities mentioned in the documentary,” said Mr Chiperesa. Herald

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