$800 million gold smuggled every month

via $800 million gold smuggled every month | The Zimbabwean 16 July 2014

Zimbabwe is losing gold worth about $800 million every month through smuggling and underground dealings involving locals and international cartels.

The figure is stated in an unofficial document produced by a private citizen has been forwarded to Vice President Joice Mujuru, Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa, several other ministries, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. The nation is currently reeling under an acute cash crunch and a debt of $9.9 billion.

According to the investigator, several unnamed cabinet ministers and senior government officials are involved in shady deals with official and unregistered gold miners who do not remit the mineral to government through Fidelity Printers as required by the law.

Most of the gold is reportedly smuggled out of the country where it fetches prices higher than Fidelity offers.

“99.9 % of gold sales in Zimbabwe today are transacted in hard cash, without any of it finding its way into the banking system,” said the source. “Everything is sent out of the country illegally, with the blessing of senior government officials. Due to the size of each consignment it’s easy to hide and move across international borders. Profits are externalised,” he added.

Some of the buying syndicates order quantities ranging from 50kg to 90kg of processed gold on a daily basis, said the source.

Zimbabwe is believed to be home to more than 1,000 registered artisanal gold miners who employ an estimated 500,000 people. A high number of these are suspected to be selling the bullion illegally.

Thousands other illegal panners operate throughout the country in gold-rich areas mostly sited on the Great Dyke and on disused mines.

“The monthly figure that is being laundered (is close) to $800 million, considering the number of gold panners in the country, the high-bearing ore yields and, more specifically, the low price being paid for gold by Fidelity in Zimbabwe,” said the investigator.

He warned that the rampant illegal trade in gold posed a national security threat as the proceeds could be used to finance terrorist attacks.

“Apart from the negative impact that this has on the Zimbabwean economy, we are more concerned about the money laundering aspect associated with this illegal trade, which we believe could easily

“Money laundering of this magnitude puts the South American drug cartels to shame, with Zimbabwe being the key contributor to what could become a threat to regional stability, assuming nothing is done to stop it,” he added.

Prominent and politically well-connected individuals and their families are believed to have amassed vast fortunes from the underground gold trade.

Official gold production dwindled from about 17 tonnes in 2004 to just over 900kg in 2013, according to the Zimbabwe Artisanal Miners and Small Scale Council (ZAMSC), which recently acknowledged that smuggling was rampant due to higher prices offered in other countries.

Finance Minister, Patrick Chinamasa promised to return a call from The Zimbabwean, but had not done so by the time of going to press.

Paul Mangwana, a ZAMSC board member and former cabinet minister told Parliament earlier this year that low prices offered by Fidelity were driving gold smuggling. “It does not make sense for us to sell to Fidelity. We are losing tonnes and tonnes of our gold, which is going to South Africa, where dealers buy at five percent above the prevailing world prices. Local miners take the risk to go and sell there. As a result, we are building South African instead of building Zimbabwe,” said Mangwana.


  • comment-avatar

    All gold mined in Zimbabwe legally has to be sold to Fidelity Printers ( a 100% owned subsidiary of the reserve bank of Zimbabwe).

    But the catch is that Fidelity do not pay the producers anywhere near the world price of gold which at present is 1305 usd per ounce.

    So why are we surprised to find producers preferring to sell their hard earned gold in South Africa at 5% above the world price ?

    One does not need a Harvard or Univ of Zimbabwe business degree to understand this small anomaly !

    Zimbabwe’s rulers are true dimwits whichever way you look at them.

  • comment-avatar
    Mlimo 9 years ago

    dimwit is an understatement – you forget that the cartels are run by zanupf cronies.

  • comment-avatar
    Mlimo 9 years ago

    I also wanted to say that this is a direct result of failed land tenure and property rights issue. No rule of law. Its like the fools who stole the 300 odd kilometers of copper wiring from the electrified rail link between gweru and harare. How brilliant is that. the only thing zimbabweans know is theft, they steal from each other , they steal from the nation, they steal from the rightful owners, they steal from the land. They even steal elections, helped themsleves to my savings, and steal from donors.
    A billiant kleptocracy.

  • comment-avatar
    Charles Frizell 9 years ago

    All I can say is, Aaaaah Yaaas – Pamberi ne Zanooo

  • comment-avatar
    nyoni 9 years ago

    Crying for money from all over the world but Zanu and co are hard at taking our resources out of the country for their own use. What a bunch of no good useless maggots.

  • comment-avatar
    Justice 9 years ago

    What a sick joke, giving the report to Joice when her husband was the biggest gold smuggler of them all, her wealth has come from it! Someone please put us out of our misery.

  • comment-avatar

    How does one remove an Assad, a Kim Ill, a Mugabe?

    Tough call.

  • comment-avatar

    I find this figure hard to believe. As would be expected the figure is based on nameless people with no scientific basis for deriving the figures.