The identities of six African leaders were mentioned by a notorious gold smuggler in the recent edition of Al Jazeera’s Gold Mafia investigative film.
The six were mentioned in different capacities by Alistair Mathias, the self-acclaimed gold dealer who admitted in the film to helping launder money and keeping bribe proceeds for top African politicians including presidents.
Most of the presidents mentioned are in the southern African bloc. He mentioned King Mswati in eSwatini as well as presidents of Zimbabwe (where most of their fraudulent activities takes place), South Africa, Zambia, DR Congo and Ghana.
When undercover agents met him in South Africa and asked about his continental connections, he spoke up: “Next door Swaziland, the king is a close friend of mine. Zambia’s president is a close friend of my friend.
DRC Congo, the president is inviting me several times to come and build a refinery. Ghana’s president is a good friend of mine, in fact he was my lawyer. Cyril Ramaphosa here, I know his kids,” he said whiles a close ally added: ”Zimbabwe is easy.”
Mathias stressed: “In Zimbabwe, ED is my partner, I can’t say it in public because he is sanctioned,” he added. ED is the initials of the Zimbabwean president Emmerson Mnangagwa.
At the tail end of the film, however, he told Al Jazeera wrote what he told them when confronted with evidence:
“Alistair Mathias denied that he designed mechanisms to launder money and said that he never laundered money or gold or offered to do such things.
“He told us he had never had any working relationship with Emmerson Mnangagwa, Ewan Macmillan or any of the African politicians he identified to our reporters.
“Mr Mathias denied ever being awarded any tender by the Ghanaian government or entering any government contracts in any African country.
“President Akufo-Addo of Ghana told us that he had no recollection of acting as a lawyer for Alistair Mathias or his company.”