Zimbabwe VP Warns of Strict Measures Against Gold Smugglers

Crackdown on Illicit Financial Flows Aims to Bolster New Gold-Backed Currency

by Victor Adetimilehin

Zimbabwe’s Vice President Constantino Chiwenga has issued a strong warning to gold smugglers and black market foreign exchange traders. Chiwenga pledged to implement stricter measures to curb resource leakage and prevent manipulation of the country’s new gold-backed currency, the Zimbabwean dollar (ZiG).

Government Targets Gold Smuggling After Al Jazeera Exposé

Chiwenga’s comments come amid ongoing efforts to combat gold smuggling, a significant concern for the Zimbabwean government.  Last year, an Al Jazeera documentary, “Gold Mafia,” exposed a network of powerful individuals allegedly smuggling gold out of the country, costing Zimbabwe billions of dollars.

Despite the documentary’s allegations, which implicated high-ranking officials, investigations into the individuals involved appeared to stall. An asset freeze imposed by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) on those named in the documentary was later lifted.

In his speech at the opening of the International Business Conference at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair, Chiwenga emphasized the government’s commitment to protecting its resources. He declared, “We are going to put strict measures to ensure that we protect our resources as a country. Not even a single gram [of gold] should leave this country. Resources should benefit every citizen.”

Chiwenga went on to warn that these measures could include “strict measures, that can see heads rolling.” He stressed the importance of accounting for every gram of gold mined in Zimbabwe, highlighting the nation’s natural wealth.

Clampdown on Black Market Forex Trading and Retail Speculation

Chiwenga also directed his warnings towards black market currency traders, emphasizing that the ZiG will be anchored by Zimbabwe’s gold reserves, aiming to shield it from speculation and volatility.

The ZiG was introduced to replace the previous Zimbabwean dollar, which had suffered from hyperinflation. The government hopes the gold-backed currency will provide a more stable foundation for the economy.

Chiwenga further extended his warnings to the retail sector, threatening to shut down supermarkets suspected of undermining the ZiG’s stability.

Uncertainties Remain Over Crackdown’s Effectiveness

While Chiwenga’s speech signals a renewed commitment to tackling gold smuggling and currency manipulation, questions remain about the effectiveness of the planned measures. The previous lack of follow-through on investigations into well-connected individuals raises concerns.

The success of the crackdown will depend on the government’s ability to implement transparent and robust measures that target all those involved in illicit activities, regardless of their political connections.

Source: New Zimbabwe 

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