The internet has been in a frenzy for the past two days due to the shocking and jaw dropping revelations of the 'Gold Mafia documentary' aired by AL Jazeera this past Thursday. The episode is part one of the four-part series that Al Jazeera will continue to release.
Firstly, if you were expecting this documentary to expose that local Gold Dealer you see daily at Pablo's bar, we apologize for the disappointment. This documentary exposes criminal activities taking place at a grand and macro scale, the type of crimes that land people at the Hague. These crimes have cost the GDPs of nations, and stifled economies, all because of a handful of greedy criminals who want to pocket everything for themselves.
This article covers the key figures mentioned in this documentary and their relevance to the whole narrative. Before we get into it, kudos to the brave men and women who are part of the I-Unit who risked their lives in order to extract self-incriminatory compelling evidence that exposes the 'Gold Mafia' of Zimbabwe. The whole scheme was done with great precision and tact, at some point I had to snap out of it and remind myself that this was a documentary and not a movie. Mr. Stanley, the fictional character looking to launder his dirty billions, remains a true hero today. This fictional character was enough juicy bait to lure the greedy individuals we shall cover below.
Kamlesh Pattni aka Brother Paul
After having almost ruined the GDP of Kenya during President Arap Moi's era, Kamlesh Pattni moved to Zimbabwe for a fresh start and to establish a new empire from there. Shrewd and smart seem like the best terms to describe his being. He seems to have a knack for dictators, having posed for pictures with the likes of President Museveni of Uganda, the late former President of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, and the late Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi.
Having established himself as a fixer, he has managed to position himself as the go-to guy for the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe by obtaining rights to buy and export Gold abroad on behalf of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. In exchange, he gets a license to sell the gold abroad. Through this network, Pattni is able to provide money laundering services to his clients where he channels dirty/unclean money through what is a hawala system, a system where Dubai-based company and personal bank accounts transact money to each other as a means to launder money.
Having inherited his Gold empire from his Father, Ewan MacMillan is no newcomer to the industry, perhaps a seasoned veteran is one way to describe him. Unfortunately, his acumen for the industry can't match his poor judge of character and his inability to shut up. Most of the revelations made in the documentary were said by him. Within the first episode, Al Jazeera was able to unpack his financial architect and partner in crime Allister Mathias, and track down the structure of the financial system they use to launder unclean money.
Simply put, MacMillan and Pattni are one of the major competing Gold Mafias tasked with buying Gold from the black market and from small-scale gold miners who have lost confidence in the banking system in the hands of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. Their task is to export the gold to Dubai, sell it, and bring back the proceeds to the Reserve bank of Zimbabwe. Simply put, Macmillan's operation has turned Zimbabwe into a rubbish bin where unclean money is dumped. Before the proceeds from the sale of gold return back, they are channeled into a system where the clean money stays, and the dirty and unclean money makes its way to Zimbabwe to continue the whole cycle.
Most people must be wondering, who is Uebert Angel. With skills ranging from possessing multiple contradicting identity cards to prophesying football scores, to then becoming a special envoy (Number 2 LOL) of the President, Uebert Angel is quite an enigma.
This documentary reveals the true meaning behind Uebert Angel's appointment to be the Ambassador-at-large to Europe and the Americas so as to "promote Brand Zimbabwe."
In what the documentary has termed the ''Diplomatic mafia.", the documentary reveals how Uebert Angels exploit and abuses his office for criminal activities. At one point in the documentary, Angel pompously shows off his power as he explains how he can put a human in his travel luggage and get away with it at customs.
Uebert Angel assures that he could clean Mr. Stanley's billions of unclean money as he is able to move the dirty money smoothly during his 'diplomatic trips'. What happens to the money next can be best explained by the next individual we are going to introduce.
Nepotism continues to be a system that is rife today in Zimbabwe. Henrietta Rushwaya happens to be the niece of President Mnangagwa which would explain how she has managed to maneuver her way into key positions of power.
Henrietta Rushwaya is the head of the Zimbabwe Miners Federation. Through her machinations and antiques, she is able to provide Mr. Stanley with another money laundering avenue by providing gold at a 4% discount in exchange for unclean and dirty money.
It goes without mentioning, in 2022 Rushwaya was once acquitted in the case she was accused of trying to bribe an airport official with US$5,000 in a bid to smuggle 6kg of gold worth more than US$330,000. Ironically, the whistleblower for this case, Award Winning journalist, Mr. Hopewell Chinono is being charged today for being the whistleblower for the case. The lunacy never ends.
Last and definitely not least, Simon Rudland aka The Boss
You know you are very powerful and untouchable when governments and nations owe you money. In pop culture colloquial terminology, Simon Rudland is giving 'The Godfather' or 'Pablo Escobar.' vibes. We all know how much leverage people have over people who owe them money, however, we can only imagine the leverage one has over a government that owes him/her money. Let us put it plainly, The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe owes Simon Rudland money.
It is paramount to state that Fidelity Printers and Refiners is a private company owned by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. This company's operations include all printing for major government-related documents, and ballot papers, and their services also include a gold refinery arm that refines all the gold owned by the reserve bank of Zimbabwe.
As mentioned earlier, RBZ hires people like Pattni and MacMillan who buy gold from the small-scale miners because these miners have lost confidence in RBZ and also partly because the RBZ doesn't have enough money to buy gold from them. This is where Rudland aka The Boss comes in. He lends money to Fidelity and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe so that they can buy the gold from small-scale miners or the black market through the likes of MacMillan and Pattni.
We shall continue listing more profiles of the individuals that will continue to be mentioned in Parts 2, 3, and 4 of the docu-series.