RBZ could face sanctions following Al Jazeera documentary. That’s a big deal

Leonard Sengere Avatar
RBZ Building entrance, Fintech Regulatory Sandbox, Mid Term Monetary Policy Statement

Al Jazeera released the first of four parts to their explosive documentary on corruption and looting in Zimbabwe yesterday. Titled ‘Gold Mafia’ the documentary exposes the dealings of some government officials, prophets, pastors, and businesspeople profiting from the illegal movement of gold.

Al Jazeera Gold Mafia documentary

Reactions to the docu have been mixed. Some feel Al Jazeera overpromised and underdelivered. They feel that all that Al Jazeera did was put names and faces to what we already knew was happening. I think it’s premature to think this, there are still three parts to go.

Some are rightly angry and disheartened by the revelations. Gold worth billions is being smuggled out of the country, depriving the country of much-needed revenue. I still grieve when I think about the $15 billion that went missing all those years ago and to find out billions are still leaking every year is maddening.

That may be but even among those that think the docu is enlightening, the question is ‘what does this mean for the country?’ Is it a big deal that we can put faces and names to the illicit dealings we all suspected were going on? Does this documentary have the same impact as a news story telling you that a man in Shurugwi stole a goat from his neighbour?

Govt institutions complicit in money laundering

The scariest part of the documentary is how the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, through its subsidiaries seems to be negligent when it comes to anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing, at the very least.

Some of the bad actors in the docu made it sound like Fidelity Printers and Refiners, an RBZ subsidiary, is available to them to wash dirty money with no questions asked. That will not fly with the international community.

Zimbabwe is already under sanctions but it could always get worse. As you know the sanctions are ‘targeted’ and our institutions are not under sanctions themselves. Of course, in reality, the institutions are affected by those ‘targeted sanctions’ as even Al Jazeera notes,

the nation faces a strict international sanctions regime, and even though its gold trade is not in itself banned by the West, the broader strictures against Zimbabwe make it harder to export the precious metal through official channels.

So, in some way, those sanctions are partly responsible for Zimbabwe having to turn to shady characters to get Zimbabwean gold on the market.

Anyway, as one former FBI agent interviewed in the docu admits, they would like to bar Zimbabwe from the global financial system completely.

If it can be proven that indeed Zimbabwe has been complicit in money laundering then that can be arranged. Here we are talking about sanctions being placed on our central bank and its affiliates.

Sanctions on the RBZ

The main aim of sanctions on a central bank is to prevent it from accessing its assets at private institutions and central banks outside its country’s borders. The central bank would not be able to make international payments or even supply its own country’s banks with forex in times of need.

Not being able to access those foreign reserves also has the effect of making it hard for the central bank to keep its currency stable. Zimbabweans don’t need telling what an unstable currency entails.

Looking at this, one feels that the RBZ being placed on sanctions would not be that big of a deal. World Bank data had Zimbabwe’s net foreign assets at -335 million in 2020.

The RBZ says it had foreign assets of ZW$423bn and foreign liabilities of ZW$2.9 trillion, for a net of negative ZW$2.5 trillion in September 2022. See RBZ Quarterly Economic Review for more.

This is partly to blame for the Zimbabwe dollar’s struggles. The ZW$ is useless on the international market and it would not be any either way with our central bank powerless on that market.

So, to have the negative balances above frozen does not feel like that big of a deal. Zimbabwe has pretty much had to operate outside of the global financial system anyway. Our banks have been losing correspondence partnerships even without the central bank under sanctions.

That’s not to say sanctions on the RBZ would not affect us at all. They would make a bad situation worse but probably not by much. I guess when you are already close to rock bottom, you don’t have far to sink.

You, personally, might lose out

That may be but at the personal level, we could have a lot to lose.

As we saw in Russia, we could have global players decide to exclude Zimbabwe. You know how PayPal already gives Zimbabweans a bad deal? We could end up with the likes of Western Union, Moneygram, Payoneer etc excluding Zimbabwe.

E-commerce players may be close behind them in leaving Zimbabwe. Imagine Amazon and eBay shutting us out. I don’t even know if Aliexpress would be able to keep serving us.

Then we could have Netfix, Spotify and the like pack up and leave too. Oh, now you care huh? What if Starlink ends up deciding Zimbabwe is too hot to handle? All of us a sudden it feels like a nightmare.

We only scratched the surface of what our institutions being placed on sanctions could mean. We are already in a tough spot, we could without more sanctions. So, yeah, the revelations in the Al Jazeera documentary are serious.

I understand the sentiment that says, ‘those implicated by the documentary will most likely not face any consequences.’ Instead, those doing the ‘exposing’ might be the ones to face serious consequences.

That reality makes people not care about the documentary. We should care though. As we discussed, we personally have a lot to lose out on. A bad situation could get worse.

What do you guys think? In what other ways could the revelations in the documentary end up biting us? Do let us know in the comments section below.

Also read:

Biden extended sanctions on Zimbabwe and revealed it’s all about safeguarding US interests

Crypto undermining power of the West to cripple economies through sanctions – Ukraine-Russia war shows

39 comments

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  1. Andrew Nyamhere

    It’s sad that everyone will be affected. Worse there is no guarantee that things will turn for the better anytime soon. From a business perspective Zimbabwe is even riskier and staying faraway from.it is the best solution.

    1. Jaison Ndlovu

      It will be only one day, just one, and all will change for the better. God hasn’t left his throne.

    2. Lil Dicky

      Avo varikuti Al Jazeera iproject irifunded newest bho here? , Al Jazeera is owned by Qatar maArabs ,those people don’t even see eye to eye with the West ,They just released the documentary because vanotoshamisikawo nekamubirwo karikuitwa mari munyika inotambura kudaro iko kwawo kuri rich

  2. Anonymous

    100 kg gold every week isn’t even benefiting and ordinary Zimbabwean soo its good that they sanctions every government institution right now so that everything is frozen July is close

    You are now a big man you know what is needed rather than saying we will be affected you know everyone is suffering they must freeze everything even Flights to Zimbabwe everything must just stop

    1. XCLR8OR

      Freezing All that the government owns or does won’t make them step down , they will still cling to the throne , they already have a couple mills in their pockets so they won’t feel a thing but the rest of us will burn alive🤗 for eons 🦴💀

    2. XCLR8OR

      Even they freeze everything that the government owns or does , they will still cling to the throne,They have a couple mills in their pockets so they won’t feel a thing but we will burn alive 🤗 for eons 🦴💀

    3. Iran tehran

      Munhu wese anotsigira west kuti I sanction nyika yenyu i*** who ever is agnaist Ed ngavafe i*** chairo chamisa anofa this year anoda ngaite tiite bet chamisa i***

  3. Anonymous

    It’s even more depressing how we can all pinpoint to the exact problem(s) that have been plaguing us for 43 years. Zanu PF and corruption

  4. 👽

    Bloody hell we need to be sanctioned, we have to be sanctioned infact we should be sanctioned. Actions have consequences. letting this fly is damn wrong it will set a wrong picture. These gold mafias will keep at it without any care or remorse. I don’t care if it hurts us worse. These so called sanctions have been hurting us the ordinary fellows already and sanctioning the RBZ will also start to hurt these f***** politicians. Like you said if u are near the bottom u ain’t got far to fall but the politician a***** ain’t even on the ground they are high up in the sky enjoying themselves whilst we are living hand to mouth down here.We need an F16 to shoot that damn balloon down. Im pissed really pissed apa mwedzi we Ramadan and im fasting and im not supposed to be angry now ndakufanira kutodzokorodza zuva rangu… Im sorry gud Techzim people but we need to be sanctioned fullstop

  5. Anonymous

    Ukutaura ****

  6. vivendi Lourens Makuch

    This is a grave matter. It simply shows a tip of the iceberg involving ONLY g old. What of other minerals etc? In Zimbabwe we are both tired and clueless on what to about. Everyone says “my life is OK Hameno avo.” But as the noose tightens even vagere bhoo ndovachanyanya kurira because they have something to lose. Lets wait and see!!!

    1. XCLR8OR

      Even they freeze everything that the government owns or does , they will still cling to the throne,They have a couple mills in their pockets so they won’t feel a thing but we will burn alive 🤗 for eons 🦴💀

  7. 👽

    Damn right we should be sanctioned,fhis shouldn’t be allowed to continue. Like you said when you are at near bottom you don’t have far to sink and we e ordinary fellows we are at the bottom and covered in s*** from our leaders and they ain’t even on level ground they are flying about in cloud 9 so its time an F16 shoots down that corrupt balloon and let these a*****s fall and have a taste of their own medicine.

  8. Jesus

    I would rather loose my Netflix and spotify than to live like this. Bottom line is if RBZ is sanctioned Zimbabweans have lot more to gain than this.

  9. XCLR8OR

    When I woke up today I was happy that the Docu was out and exposing the government , I was praising the West but after reading this article I have had a change of heart , I absolutely loathe the West right now , all I want to do is strap up a b*** and go Visit Biden…damn..mheni haisvike here uku.mmm..Zvema sanctions hazvibatsire vanhu izvi , Varikufunga kuti kuisa maSanctions kuchaita kuti government iite tap out , we’ll they’ll never tap out and we the citizens will dieee… America is killing us …

    1. There is No War in Ba Sing Se

      We are paralyzed by the status quo. Even blinded by it. We keep rolling with the ZANU punches, bathing in their piss. We can’t think critically and see that people are already dieing by having these giant ticks upstream suck the lifeblood out of us and the institutions meant to serve us.

  10. XCLR8OR

    Sorry for the duplicated replies …

  11. Iran tehran

    Zimbabwe is a good country out there there .kune nyika dzakawanda dzinoita ma illicit deal this is a strategy being used to campaign for ccc but azvishande .Zanu is Zimbabwe and zvakutoita kut vanhu vade zanu gold vanhu vanongorida nzira gonyo dzekutengesa gold ihobho even west inorida .Al jezeera I kangaroo media

  12. Kamikaze

    Al Jazeera is a western funded media just like BBC and CNN …we all know London and Dubai are the biggest places for money laundering but no one says sh!t becoz they launder for the deep state.

    1. MTBMB

      You’re right

  13. Minigeddon

    Some of these comments ka… Zim needs a biblical level hard reset

  14. King

    But why Mnangagwa

  15. Ruf

    Sanctions are there but look at this gvt just splurging on nonsensical things instead of working for the people with the little things they have. Yes they can’t sell the gold and have to resort to this.What difference will extra sanctions make. We are literally under a mafia .our freedoms are being taken. hospitals have nothing forget about building another central hospital. The regime openly shots ppl creating fear. Sham elections are held totally rigged. They openly threaten any dissent. Corruption scandals are ridiculous. revealed daily no prosection.Everyone who has a chance is leaving or planning too. Who exactly is benefiting from this sanctions busting. It’s certainly not us. If anything they using it as another looting scam like command agriculture and tenders. They literally changing the Constitution according to their needs. I’m in health care they have passed the medical bill now so no strikes. They have worked with UN to put us on the red list so we can’t leave. Is this not already an invisible prison. Ppl are dying daily in our hospitals over nothing. If they sanctions are coming there will be no fuel no zesa etc but we already there. We don’t want a mafia gvt that’s this ruthless. We want peace and it’s time for them to go. They have absolutely no remorse
    This could be the push to get them out. They have lost elections and have used fear and intimidation to come to power and enrich themselves all the while bankrupting us. Good us a finite source that will leave severe environmental degradation. For the sake of our kids and the next generation. We need a restart

  16. Ruf

    For the one saying that London and Dubai are are money laundering havens. Just look at their roads water and hospitals. They definitely using that money for their own. Now look at us. These looters actually want to stay there but they haven’t stolen enough.

    1. Anonymous

      Wow, good point

    2. Anonymous

      If the money was being used for infrastructure for instance Zambezi water project were will we be as a Nation

  17. Jumson

    Seems to me incompetence lies at the root of all this, like a farmer who has the land ,the funding, the labour, the machinery and tools but still needs to call in some one competent to do his dirty work. Maybe we should fact this fact

  18. GG

    Your forefathers were warned by Ian Smith the quencequences of allowing Zanu pf to takeover the country.He aptly said these people will take your wealth,your daughters and your wives.Your wives are f***d each year at the annually congress.

  19. GG

    Smith warned us but we did not listen and that is what we deserve.

  20. Another View

    1.We took the land from the whites hanti.
    2. ivhu kuvanhu uye nyika inovakwa nevene vayo.
    3. gold inocherwa muno nesu ma zimbo vatema.
    NB*4. So why is it that ma runner aya aitwa exposed vari varungu white people vanogara kimba zvavo then pocket a commission.
    5. So Scott Kupa we Better Brands momushorerei iye achitengesa gold to Fidelity then ka white runner ko wana a commission yakawanda kudarika kutengesa kwaaita.
    6. why takapusa. Isn’t it kuti iyo govt ndaishandise mwana wamai nhingi kwete murungu kuti tibudirire.
    7. munhu akango gara zvake owana mari nekukwira ndege. Apa murungu hapana mublack kana one why

  21. Revolution

    Teachers getting a meagre salary when some pple are living large from such a loot,it takes a spirit of working harsd and earning honestly from law abiding citizens.

    We are a country in trouble,I don’t know the right word to describe the oppression we are in from our fellow Africans.

  22. Isaac

    Who messed up with the home page?

    1. Isaac

      Ahh… It’s working now

  23. Anonymous

    We need the sanctions, let the Europe tie us with a hot rod so that the ordinary citizens may get wise and know where to put their X.

  24. Prophet Angel jr

    There are stories about people being abducted to a place called Oman in Arab, is this not what Prophet Angel said he can do as well? And put red-tape allover it kkk these Diplomats are dhandaHeards

  25. We

    Like North Korea, RBZ is Mnangagwa’s Bureau 39. With the fraudulent pastor heading it and Mangudya as a front.
    RBZ said gold is not smuggled because it’s not sanctioned. Why doesn’t Fidelity itself sell it straight to Dubai?

  26. c l o w n s

    …….”The central bank would not be able to make international payments or even supply its own country’s banks with forex in times of need.”…… hahaha can they even do this at this point in time ?

  27. Anonymous

    There is overwhelming evidence of corruption in the whole investigation and yet the people involved continue to deny their involvement. That’s what greed does to people. They become shameless , they grow hearts of ice , they think they are cleverer and smarter than all of you, infact they become carriers of devil. all their accounts and assets should be frozen

  28. LemmeSee

    Ever wondered where all this money they launder goes to? Do these guys even know how to manage all this money. A part of me feels like the deep state is at the end of the chain. Some really dark stuff is going on here.

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