Nevanji Munyaradzi Chiondegwa
The Central Bank’s investigating unit – the Financial Intelligence Unit said they found no evidence supporting the allegations contained in the Al Jazeera biopic.
In this regard, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has lifted the order freezing bank accounts and assets of officials allegedly involved in the “Gold Mafia” documentary.
The biopic alleged that the people were involved in gold smuggling, money laundering and bribery.
In a communique on Monday, FIU’s director-general Mr Oliver Chiperesa said a careful investigation and analysis of the documentary had informed the decision to unfreeze the officials’ assets.
“Following the broadcast of Al Jazeera’s 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.
He said they had not identified any irregularities linked to allegations made in the documentary.
“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 March 31, 2023.”
Assets belonging to Cleopas Chidodo, David Chirozvi, Mehlululi Dube and Frederick Kunaka had been frozen.
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 persons involved.
“Some of the allegations in the documentary relate to money laundering and financial crimes alleged to have taken place outside Zimbabwe’s 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,” he said.