Aljazeera 2023 Zimbabwe Corruption Documentary

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Aljazeera Zimbabwe Corruption Documentary Trailer.jpg

In late February 2023, the TV news network Al Jazeera released the trailer of a documentary supposedly linking prominent Zimbabwean politicians and religious people to corruption in Zimbabwe.[1]

Local Zimbabwean journalist Hopewell Chin'ono was one of the first people to acknowledge the upcoming documentary saying to his followers on Twitter:

International news network, Aljazeera will be broadcasting mind-blowing documentary films in March showing astonishing looting, plunder and laundering in Zimbabwe.

The Zanu PF crooks and their surrogates were filmed undercover for 2 years, as they spoke about how they do it!

The film producers have shown the films to a select group of corruption experts and journalists to look at, and give their comment on the exposures.

The documentary films were made by the Al Jazeera Investigative Journalism Directorate.

They filmed them since 2021.[2]

See also:

Airing of the Documentary

The documentary, which the network said was in 4 parts, was set to be released starting 2 March 2023. Other episodes were to follow on 9, 16 and 23 March 2023. However, Al Jazeera said it had put the release on pause but did not give reasons.

“The report we were planning to release will no longer be released this morning (March 2). Bear with us while a new release time is arranged."

The first episode was released 23 March 2023.

The Videos

Episode 1 - Gold Mafia - The Laundry Service

Aired 23 March 2023

The first Gold Mafia documentary shows (and thereby alleges) four different gold smuggling schemes in Zimbabwe.

Episode 2 - Smoke & Mirrors | Al Jazeera Investigations

Aired 30 March 2023

Episode 3 – El Dorado | Al Jazeera Investigations

Aired 6 April 2023

Episode 4 – Have The King With You | Al Jazeera Investigations

Aired 14 April 2023

People appearing in the documentary


28 February - Response by State Media

Following the release of the trailer and tweets by Hopewell Chin'ono, on 28 February, an article in state-owned media, The Herald said the documentary's objective was "destroying Zanu PF its leadership and facilitating regime change."[4]. The article also accused Al Jazeera of "interfer[ing] with the electoral process of a sovereign state." saying such interference was "brazen as it is nauseating."

The article criticised Uebert Angel for appearing in the documentary saying he had abused his ambassadorial position.

"We have had too many instances where individuals take advantage of photo opportunities with the President. These are corrupt and manipulative characters....

There are so many prophets and church leaders who are deeply character flawed. They do not doanything positive while the President is in office, anyway.

They use the name of the President to line their pockets and amass wealth.

Uebert Angel is not Zanu PF. He is just some alleged technocrat who submitted his application for a role to promote his country of birth.

How he lives his life on a daily basis and what deals he involves himself in have nothing to do with Zanu PF or its leaders.

He is just doing like what any conman does, name dropping and anything he said in that Al Jazeera programme is his opinion."[4]

6 March 2023 - No Sanctions, Mangudya

On 6 March 2023, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor, John Mangudya, dismissed as false and malicious reports carried in a trailer of Gold Mafia which had not been screened. The reports suggested that the central bank was engaged in illicit gold dealings, corruption, and money laundering.
Mangudya also said there are no sanctions on Zimbabwean imports and exports, including on gold. He, however, later clarified his remarks saying Zimbabwe remained under economic sanctions that have hampered the movement of funds and trade.
The Press Release - File:Press Statement-AlJazeeraAllegations6March23.pdf

24 March 2023 - ZACC closely watching

On Twitter, ZACC helpfully told everyone ZACC is closely following the Aljezeera broadcast. [5]

April 2023 - Reported Asset Freeze

In April 2023, people named in the Gold Mafia documentary had their assets frozen by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, according to “inside sources at the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe”. They include Uebert Angel, Ewan McMillan, Kamlesh Pattni, and Simon Rudland. They are to be frozen until the Financial Intelligence Unit has finished its investigation.

Earlier, according to a memo seen, the FIU directed that the assets of Cleopas Chidodo, David Chirozvi, Mehlululi Dube, and Fredrick Kunaka be frozen. [6]

Issues To Be Seen


Gold in Zimbabwe is a controlled item, as are diamonds and emeralds. Raw gold, from extraction until it is used in jewellery or other industrial use, can only be held by specific licence holders. Prospectors, miners, traders, refiners… The State has the authority, and a monopoly, on this good mainly through the Gold Trade Act (1946), and the RBZ, through it’s subsidiary Fidelity Printers and Refiners. And this (common in most countries of the world) is to ensure Zimbabwe’s resource is exploited to Zimbabwe’s benefit. All actors along the production path (e.g. miners) are and must be paid, but additional revenues from the product must go into Zimbabwe’s Fiscus, (Zimbabwe’s economy), legitimately and openly (scrutinised by parliament), to be used for Zimbabwe’s maintenance and development. E.g. teachers get paid, hospitals have drugs, roads are built and maintained, power is generated. The Government is to ensure the State does this, through such instruments as the budget and levying taxes.

So a major issue brought to light/alleged by the Gold Mafia documentaries is that the State has, and been allowed to by the Government, evaded or abrogated their responsibility to the people of Zimbabwe. Why does the state not conduct it’s function? One statement is that the RBZ “has no money”. Why is it that several individuals' (4 shown) operations are making millions of dollars a week (with or without licences from the State)?

Diplomatic abuse

The Vienna Convention allows diplomats to send and receive ‘mail’ over borders (including hostile borders) without these states from looking at it. That Ubert Angel offers to smuggle gold, cash, or other items across borders using this diplomatic privilege represents a gross abuse, by Zimbabwe, of this International convention. How the government allows this State Representative to abuse this privilege Zimbabwe enjoys deserves government’s (President, Cabinet, Parliament) scrutiny.

Bigger than government

In the introduction, the point is made by a former Minister of Finance that the Gold Mafia is “bigger than the government”. Later in the documentary, Alistair Mathias says he has been doing this for 13 to 14 years. In Ghana, he moves 1 ton or 40 million every month. In “this region” he/they do 500(kg) to 1 ton again, or $70 to 80 m every month (70 times 12 = $840 a year from one operator).

For perspective, Zimbabwe’s 2023 Annual budget was US$5.6bn, Zimbabwe’s National debt was US$18 600 million/18bn, and the City of Harare’s Annual Budget for 2023 was US$347 million at official rate. The price of gold on 26 April 2023 was $64 428.60 per kg.


Under the headline - Justice!, in 2022 we were asked to follow one man’s astounding undercover crusade to expose judicial corruption in Ghana. This exclusive Al Jazeera documentary is the incredible behind-the-scenes account of one man’s extraordinary battle against judicial corruption in Ghana, one of sub-Saharan Africa’s most developed countries. Over the course of two years, acclaimed investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas secretly filmed 12 High Court judges, 22 other judges, and 140 other court officials accepting bribes. [7]

And for other Al Jazeera work see - Africa Investigates. On a continent where investigative reporters face intimidation and beatings and where death threats are an occupational hazard, African journalists go undercover to find the wrongdoers and put them under the spotlight. Africa Investigates is a groundbreaking series that exposes corruption and abuse across Africa. [8]

Further Reading

Gold Trade Act

Gold (like diamonds and emeralds) is a controlled substance in Zimbabwe (as it is many world countries). Unless made into jewelry, it is regulated by the Gold Trade Act.

Download it here - File:GoldTradeAct.pdf


26 March 2023 - The Zimbabwean

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa has been left exposed and politically vulnerable following ground-breaking revelations by Qatar-based international television network Al Jazeera’s of gold smuggling, corruption and money laundering. [9]
Article - [1]

6 April 2023 - VOA Africa

Zimbabwean officials mentioned in an Al Jazeera documentary titled “Gold Mafia,” allegedly linking some officials in that Southern African nation to gold smuggling and money laundering, are welcoming a government plan to probe the matter. Despite the probe by authorities, critics doubt that President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration will crack down on internal corruption and arrest authorities linked to the alleged scheme, as recently announced by Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa. [10]
Article - [2]

17 April 2023 - Daily Maverick

The documentary series produced by the news channel's Investigative Unit reveals a money laundering network in which gold smuggling gangs in southern Africa share links with top officials in Zimbabwe’s government. However, as the country’s general election looms, the question of accountability remains largely unanswered. [11]
Article - [3]

18 April 2023 - New Zimbabwe

A regional anti-corruption lobby group has called on the United Nations to investigate the abuse of diplomatic privileges to facilitate gold smuggling and illicit financial flow. [12]

Article - [4]


  1. Staff Writer, Govt officials exposed in Al Jazeera Investigations documentary on corruption, money laundering, New Zimbabwe, Published Date: 1 Mar 2023, Accessed: 1 Mar 2023.
  2. Tweet by Hopewell Chin'ono on Al Jazeera Documentary, Twitter, Published: 27 Feb 2023, Accessed: 28 Feb 2023
  3. Mnangagwa’s oligarchs: The heirs of Cecil Rhodes, Daily Maverick, Published: 7 February 2022, Retrieved: 11 February 2022
  4. 4.0 4.1 Dr Masimba Mavaza, Not in the President’s name, The Herald, Published: 28 February 2022, Accessed: 28 Feb 2023
  5. ZACC is closely following, Twitter, Published: 24 March 2023, Retrieved: 19 April 2023
  6. [Link_Here Uebert Angel, Rudland accounts frozen], The Herald, Published: 7 April 2023, Retrieved: 7 April 2023
  7. Justice!, Al Jazeera, Published: 22 November 2022, Retrieved: 28 February 2023
  8. Africa Investigates, Al Jazeera, Retrieved: 28 February 2023
  9. Gold Mafia : Is Mnangagwa Surrounded By Criminals?, The Zimbabwean, Published: 26 March 2023, Retrieved: 19 April 2023
  10. Alleged Gold Smugglers Welcome Zimbabwe’s ‘Gold Mafia’ Probe, VOA, Published: 6 April 2023, Retrieved: 19 April 2023
  11. Al Jazeera Gold Mafia exposé ‘tip of the iceberg’ for Zim corruption but accountability remains elusive, Daily Maverick, Published: 17 April 2023, Retrieved: 19 April 2023
  12. Gold Mafia: Diplomatic immunities and privileges being abused to commit transnational organised crimes – says anti-corruption lobby group; calls for UN probe, New Zimbabwe, Published: 18 April 2023, Retrieved: 19 April 2023

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