A local resource campaigner says Zimbabwe has long surpassed the Government’s target to increase mineral revenues to US$12 billion annually from December this year but that most of the revenue is being siphoned by elites.
Farai Muguwu, the executive director at the Centre for Natural Resource Governance (CNRG), said the looting of the country’s mineral resources is “at an industrial scale” and illicit financial flows (IFFs) are rising.
Responding to questions by the Zimbabwe Independent on the effectiveness of the country’s legal framework to tackle IFFs, Maguwu said several state agencies mandated to fight smuggling are inept. He said:
We have long surpassed the US$12 billion mining economy. It’s just that what is trickling into Treasury is insignificant compared to what is being smuggled.
If you recall (the late former president Robert) Mugabe’s US$15 billion confession, read together with the gold mafia exposé, the Sentry report and various others produced by local CSOs, one is convinced Zimbabwe is losing in excess of US$15 billion in potential revenue annually.
The country is well able to finance its own development agenda. The economic possibilities of Zimbabwe are limitless if IFFs are plugged.
In 2014, Mugabe claimed that Zimbabwe had lost US$14 billion through IFFs within a decade.
Maguwu demanded the disbandment of the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) over its failure to combat graft. He said:
A big challenge that remains is the enforceability of the anti-corruption laws. ZACC needs to be disbanded as it is not fit for purpose.
Their inaction over the gold mafia (scandal) exposes them as a toothless and seriously compromised institution.
While the ZRP and airport security have been doing their job professionally at times, the judiciary and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) have been a big letdown.
Someone caught smoking marijuana will get a much stiffer penalty than a person caught smuggling minerals.
It’s very hard to understand how certain smugglers were acquitted, making a complete mockery of our justice system.
In 2012 Shmuel Kainan Klein, an Israeli pilot was caught red-handed trying to smuggle more than 1 200 pieces of diamonds at Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport (RGMIA).
According to the Kimberley Process (KP) Certification Scheme, of which Zimbabwe is a founding member, no diamond parcel can cross a border without an accompanying KP certificate from the exporting country. He didn’t have.
Nevertheless, our courts and prosecutors connived to clear him. Henrietta Rushwaya is another case in point.
“Gold Mafia” was a documentary aired by Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit (I-Unit) in early 2023.
The four-part documentary exposed gold smuggling by individuals affiliated with Zimbabwean government officials and the ruling party. – (Pindula)