List of rival gangs and key people linked to Zimbabwe Gold Mafia

Kamlesh Pattni



They are rival gangs — with many different characters. From new-age pastors to old-school smugglers, and from diplomats to the Zimbabwean president’s niece, Al Jazeera’s latest investigation, Gold Mafia, has uncovered a band of criminals driving gold smuggling and money laundering worth billions of dollars in Southern Africa.

These are some of the key individuals running the mafia.

Kamlesh Pattni aka ‘Brother Paul’ The Kenyan-born Pattni knows better than anyone how to smuggle gold worth millions of dollars — and get away with it. In the 1990s, his firm Goldenberg International was at the centre of a giant scandal that robbed Kenya of $600mn — 10 percent of its GDP. Then President Daniel Arap Moi had allowed Pattni to export Kenyan gold at a time when the East African country was facing a Western aid embargo. Instead, Pattni allegedly used his license to smuggle Congolese gold through Kenya. He was charged but never convicted.

Al Jazeera’s undercover reporters discovered that Pattni has now moved his operations to Dubai and is smuggling gold from all over Africa, mostly from Zimbabwe. He was quick to boast of his influence, showing our reporters photos with a galaxy of African leaders — from former Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi to ex-Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe.

Pattni calls himself Brother Paul — he now runs a church. But he is a “criminal mastermind,” said Lakshmi Kumar, policy director at the Washington DC-based think tank, Global Financial Integrity, which tracks illicit financial flows and money laundering.

Yet perhaps, to Pattni, his roles as pastor and smuggler aren’t contradictory. At the end of one of his conversations with the undercover reporters, where he outlined how he could help them launder more than $100mn, he said: “I don’t know how you came to me, but I think God must have sent you.”

When confronted with the evidence gathered against him as a part of the Al Jazeera investigation, Pattni denied any criminal wrongdoing in Kenya and emphasised that he had never been convicted in relation to his activities in that country. He denied involvement in any kind of money laundering or sanctions busting or offering to deal with funds he knew originated from illegal sources. He said that when he met with our undercover team, he thought he was meeting with an investor who wanted to sell a stake in hotel businesses and “to divest of a portfolio in China into gold buying and mining in Zimbabwe”.

Uebert Angel One of Zimbabwe’s most influential diplomats, Angel was appointed a special envoy and ambassador-at-large to Europe and the Americas by President Emmerson Mnangagwa in 2021. His task: to bring investments to Zimbabwe’s collapsing economy. And if Angel is to be believed, how the money enters the country doesn’t matter.

He offered to Al Jazeera’s undercover reporters that he could use his diplomatic cover to carry large volumes of dirty cash into Zimbabwe as part of a laundering operation also involving gold smuggling. And he repeatedly claimed that Mnangagwa was aware of his schemes. “I can call the president now, not tomorrow, now and put him on speaker, it’s not an issue,” he said. “We are the government.”

Angel is also a self-proclaimed prophet at his Good News Church. He claims he can heal the sick and predict the outcomes of elections and football matches. The church has branches in 15 countries.

Mnangagwa and Angel did not respond to Al Jazeera’s request for a formal comment about the investigation.

Next week, Al Jazeera will introduce more key characters involved in the gold mafia.

_*How a ‘Gold Mafia’ is looting Zimbabwe & Southern Africa, washing dirty cash*_

An investigation by Al Jazeera has revealed some of Southern Africa’s largest gold-smuggling operations, exposing how these gangs help criminals around the world launder billions of dollars while aiding governments in circumventing international sanctions.

Gold Mafia, a four-part series by Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit (I-Unit) based on dozens of undercover operations spanning three continents, and thousands of documents, also shows how government officials and businesspeople are profiting off the illegal movement of gold across borders.

The investigation reveals how billions of dollars’ worth of gold is smuggled every month from Zimbabwe to Dubai, allowing criminals to whitewash dirty money through a web of shell companies, fake invoices and paid-off officials.

The investigation also shows how Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government is systematically using gold smugglers to get around the chokehold of Western sanctions imposed on the country. The money laundering and gold-smuggling schemes involve one of Zimbabwe’s most influential diplomats, and go all the way up to the president and his circle.

The smugglers include millionaires, one of whom was accused of almost bankrupting Kenya through a similar, corrupt scheme also involving gold.

Posing as criminals from China looking to launder over $100mn, Al Jazeera’s undercover reporters managed to gain access to these smugglers and gangs.

Zimbabwe is a key player in these operations. Gold accounts for almost half — over $2bn — of the country’s exports. But the nation faces a strict international sanctions regime, and even though its gold trade is not in itself banned by the West, the broader strictures against Zimbabwe make it harder to export the precious metal through official channels.

However, using a web of companies and patronage from some of Zimbabwe’s most powerful individuals, smugglers have turned those constraints on trade into an opportunity to launder billions of dollars and help the government in Harare get around some of the consequences of sanctions.

The process is as simple as it is cunning: Criminals from around the world with large volumes of unaccounted cash can give that money to the Zimbabwe government, directly or through smugglers. The Zimbabwe government desperately needs US dollars since the county’s own currency has little international value following years of hyperinflation.

In exchange, launderers get clean, legitimate cash — from the sale of Zimbabwean gold — transferred to their bank accounts.

‘Good washing machine’

One of the smuggling operations the I-Unit encountered was led by Uebert Angel, Zimbabwe’s ambassador-at-large to Europe and the Americas. Angel was appointed personally by President Emmerson Mnangagwa with the responsibility of securing global investments for Zimbabwe, and is one of the country’s most influential diplomats.

Angel, who is also a prominent pastor, works with his deputy, Rikki Doolan. The duo made an offer to Al Jazeera’s undercover reporters that Angel could use his diplomatic cover to smuggle dirty money into Zimbabwe. That cash would then be used to purchase Zimbabwean gold with the help of Henrietta Rushwaya, president of the country’s mining association and a niece of Mnangagwa.

“It’s a good washing machine, right?” Doolan said, a smile on his face, while speaking with Al Jazeera reporters.

_*It’s irrefutable! Zimbabweans react to Aljazeera corruption documentary after watching Part 1*_

Renowned Zimbabwean software engineer Freeman Chari says he just watched the Aljazeera documentary on corruption in Zimbabwe and it is irrefutable.

“I watched Part 1 of the documentary. It is thorough & irrefutable.

“Uebert Madzanire aka Angel was drooling. The smuggling network was clear. In all this, you can see the complicit of Fidelity printers & the GoZ. Like I always say, there is only one goblin in Zimbabwe – ZANU PF,” he says.

Chari adds that the gold being looted each day enough to build a district hospital.

“Gold that is smuggled each day is enough to build a district hospital. The soldiers that are protecting them are dying everyday from cholera. I hear it is ravaging the barracks. Pafungei,” he says.

Zimlive editor adds his voice saying Zimbabwe has been reduced to a TV movie.

“Just finished Part 1 of Gold Mafia. There’s no country here, we’re extras in a movie.

“You have madam Loice Matanda-Moyo heading anti-corruption watchdog, busy arresting people for stealing fuel coupons while the country is being looted on a scale not even Cecil John Rhodes ever imagined.

“Now imagine going into an election with people controlling all that money. You have a dozen Macmillans ready and willing to fund Zanu PF to keep their ill-gotten gains and continue the looting and plunder. If elections are the way, that’s what Zimbabweans are up against!”

Another renowned investigative journalist Hopewell Chin’ono has this to say:

“We learn that Angel’s Ambassador-at-Large position is to allow him to move illegal and looted things including money without being searched.

“We learn that he has done this with up to US$300 million.

“We learn that he has the blessing of a high up authority to do this.

“Fake prophet Angel confirms that the rumors that there are people who charge huge amounts to arrange meetings with President Mnangagwa are true.

“Angel charges US$200,000 to arrange a meeting with the President.

“We will find out in episode 2 who exactly gets the US$200,000 fee!”

“From Henrieta Rushwaya’s conversation with Angel, we now know that they use private jets to pick up Gold as part of their smuggling ring.

“We know that she uses Reserve Bank’s Fidelity facility.

“We know that she launders money this way!

“You now know why I was arrested in 2020.”

Another follower who has watched it and only identified as Daddy Croc says:

“This is heart breaking news for Zimbabweans. Really, slapping with shiti on our faces. That is why it was easy for them to buy traditional Chiefs top of the range cars because they spin so much mula behind the scenes. God have mercy on us and our future generations.”

However, others say they see nothing wrong but normal business deals being depicted in the documentary.

ZANU PF Patriots says the documentary is empty.

_*Zanu PF spin doctors, propaganda machinery caught pants down by the Al Jazeera Expose… Clueless on how to respond, what to say, remain quiet*_

All they could say is: the “documentary is empty”. Readers not sure though by what they meant. 

_*ED Slams Treasonous Sabotage: Says this before the incriminating Al Jazeera Documentary was released….. As masses await his response*_

PRESIDENT Mnangagwa yesterday described as “treasonous” the spate of vandalism of critical public infrastructure and directed stakeholders in the justice system and communities across the country to collaborate more closely to bring the sabotage criminal acts to an end.

The President’s remarks come on the back of a national outcry over vandalism and theft of key infrastructure mainly targeting energy, telecommunications, rail, and water sectors, which is costing the country millions of United States dollars every year.

Reports of vandalism and theft of electricity infrastructure are rampant and these have a crippling effect on water and power supplies to many consumers including critical institutions like hospitals, rail transportation, and communication systems.


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