19 September 2023 in Home, Home, Industry, Industry


On 15 August 2019, Simon Rudland is about to enter the building of the Fair Trade Independent Tobacco Association (FITA), of which he is a member. A man in a white car, parked next to the entrance, fires nine gunshots at him, seriously wounding him, and then flees with an accomplice[1] . Rudland survives and, two days later, names as his instigators other members of FITA, an association representing small tobacco producers in South Africa, which in those days is charged with tension within itself and with the Tobacco Institute of South Africa (TISA), which instead is an expression of the multinationals in the sector.

The turbulence of the period originated with the publication of the book ‘Tobacco Wars’, written by the former South African Revenue Service (SARS) executive Johann van Loggerenberg, which revealed to the country the dirty war going on between cigarette manufacturers for control of the legal and – above all – illegal market[2] . The victim of the attack, Zimbabwean Simon George Wilburn Rudland (1970[3] ), is fully involved in this conflict; in business with the Nyasa Manufacturing Company Ltd (Blantyre)[4] – one of Malawi’s largest cigarette manufacturers[5] – he is co-owner of the Gold Leaf Tobacco Corporation (GLTC) together with Yakub Mahomed. Nyasa is the official distributor of the RG cigarette brand, produced by Gold Leaf[6] . In 1995, he founded Pioneer Transport[7] with his brother Hamish Bryan Wilburn (1972), the flagship company of Pioneer Corporation Africa (PCA) Limited, a holding company that acquired Clan Transport and Unifreight Africa through reverse listing operations.

The latter was renamed Unifreight Africa Limited (Harare) and listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange[8] in 2003. Unifreight operates in the transport sector, diversifying its offer through three brands: Swift Transport, Bulwark Transport and SkyNet. Managing Director and Executive Director of Unifreight Africa is Robert Edward Kuipers, non-executive directors include Sarah Leigh Rudland (1992)[9] . United Transport Zimbabwe Freight Ltd. is registered in Surrey, England. Farnham; founded in 1990, since 14 May 2013 the company has been run by Hamish and Sarah Leigh Rudland[10] ; since 15 October 2019 it has been owned by three partners: Hamish, Simon and Adrienne Susan Rudland (1947)[11] , mother of the siblings and owner of Braemar, an investment company[12] based in the United Arab Emirates[13] .

Therefore, when the tobacco war breaks out, he is a prime target, so much so that he is attacked in broad daylight in a street monitored by a camera: the presence of the Rudland family spreads like wildfire in Zimbabwe’s economic system. Through the Day River Corporation Limited, in 2020 Hamish Rudland acquired 33% of ZimRe Holdings Ltd. Harare[14] , an insurance investment holding company[15] . Through Day River, the agricultural company CFI[16] is also acquired. The Mauritius company Magister Investments Ltd. Ebene Cybercity[17] owns the limited liability company Magister as trustee of Casa Trust, a trust registered in Mauritius; Hamish Rudland is the settlor of the trust, whose beneficiaries are his wife Bridgette and their three minor children[18] .

In April 2022 the shareholders of Tongaat Hulett Ltd. Tongaat (Durban, KwaZulu-Natal)[19] protested against the acquisition of 41% of the company by Magister. Tongaat Hulett produces 43% of the sugar consumed in South Africa, more than half of that in Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Botswana[20] . In 2019, the company is overwhelmed by the discovery of a scam perpetrated by CEO Peter Staude and auditor Kevin Kruger, who in 2018 alone artificially inflate profits by 239% and capital by 34%, to the value of 12 billion Rand; Staude and Kruger are arrested and Gavin Hudson, a former executive of the British SABMiller[21] is appointed to head the company.

17 February 2023: The trial against the management of Tongaat Huiett[22]

Tongaat Hulett is navigating in troubled waters when, in the second half of 2021[23] , Magister makes a 2 billion Rand bid. The complaint by the minority shareholders (Artemis Group) is based on Simon Rudland’s alleged stake in Magister Investments, 41% of which is held by a shareholder referred to as the ‘Rudland family’, without further specification. The allegations of illicit tobacco trading levelled at the Gold Leaf Corporation cast a dark light on the origin of Magister’s holdings, with serious reputational risks for Tongaat. Ebrahim Adamjee, Simon Rudland’s partner in Gold Leaf, allegedly also bought, through Betelgeux Investments (a subsidiary of Adamjee Group Enterprise), 4.95 per cent of Tongaat, of which Adrienne Rudland’s Braemer already owns 10 per cent.

The Takeover Regulation Panel (TRP), through the Takeover Special Committee (TSC), conducts an investigation to ascertain the actual relationship between Adjamee and Magister through Simon Rudland, as well as to discover the identity of other investors who, through offshore companies, purchase the 1.2% of Tongaat at the same time as Adjamee; other members of the Rudland family or Adjamee may be behind it[24] . In September 2022, the TRP discovers that, contrary to what Magister’s lawyers claim, Simon Rudland is involved in the Tongaat takeover bid, his daughters being indirect shareholders. This is enough to blow up the transaction[25] .

For the reputation of the Tongaat it is certainly good news, as in those days the South African Revenue Service (SARS) is accusing Simon Rudland and Gold Leaf of tax evasion and hiding almost 3 billion Rand abroad[26] . The accusation comes as SARS obtains a preservation order from the High Court of the Northern Gauteng Province against Gold Leaf, Rudland and Adjamee, who the revenue agency believes were involved in illicit activities[27] . Bank accounts, premises and all property of the company and its directors are frozen and taken over by a High Court receiver.

After multi-year investigations, SARS is able to reconstruct the network that has long enabled Gold Leaf executives to export large amounts of money from the illegal cigarette trade by bribing five officials of Sasfin Bank Limited, who were instructed to write off compromising transactions, as implicitly admitted to SARS in March 2022 by Sasfin’s chief operating officer, Rodger Dunn, who defines Gold Leaf’s bank statements to be reconstructed.

The SALT Asset Management transaction

The fraudulent scheme linked to Sasfin Bank[28]

The need to export capital stems, for Rudland, from the huge amount of revenue from tobacco smuggling, which yields Gold Leaf more than 3 billion Rand (tax-free, of course) in sixteen months between 2016 and 2017, compared to licit earnings of 1.5 and 1.8 billion in 2017 and 2018 respectively.

The defendants plead not guilty to the charges, revealing to SARS that the perpetrator of the fraudulent manipulation of Gold Leaf’s accounts with Sasfin was Mohammed Khan, owner and managing director of SALT Asset Management, which acts as an intermediary between the company and the bank; Adjamee accuses Khan of bribing Sasfin officials to dispose of the Gold Leaf accounts for his own sole benefit. SARS discovers, however, that over 2.2 billion Rand – more than half of the disputed 3 billion – ended up in Aulion Global Trading, a Dubai company whose director is Howard Jon Baker, Rudland’s friend and business partner. Sasfin CEO Michael Sassoon says Gold Leaf and Sasfin severed their relationship in 2017 at the behest of the lending institution[29] .

SARS commissioner Edward Kieswetter says that the Gold Leaf investigation is one strand of a broader investigation into tobacco, gold and tax evasion, in which the state is freezing and confiscating assets from Mohammed Khan, Howard Baker, as well as Kalandra Viljoen and Christo Janse van Rensburg, owners of AMSF and Rens Kontant in Transito, two hawala (cash transport) companies respectively[30] . According to the investigation, Gold Leaf uses these companies and the gold to launder money, which it then exports, via Mohammed Khan, to offshore destinations through corrupt Sasfin employees, who are allegedly – according to the investigation – trading desk chief Brandon Marshall, back office manager Hussain Choonara, Temenos Treasury application specialist Lulama Kene, Cheryl Simons of the financial surveillance department, and Merica Kwinika, exchange control officer.

The money out of Sasfin goes to offshore companies that can be traced back to Gold Leaf by means of false invoices, which bear the logo of a legitimate company – often Swiss – but the details of another company located in a tax haven. Howard Baker handles the flow of money with Khan, redirecting some of it to Gold Leaf’s account at Sasfin. Khan is in charge of paying the officials and coordinating the flows in transit for the bank[31] .

Howard Baker is also the main shareholder of Rappa Resources Pty Ltd Germiston, a gold refinery under investigation by SARS for a VAT scam[32] . These investigations lead to the investigation of the Gold Mafia: Simon Rudland is alleged to have played a leading role in the smuggling of gold, which was used as a clean counter value to the money from the illegal cigarette market. The Zimbabwean Baker acts as the glue between the various actors in the scam: with the Aulion he buys the smuggled gold that the couriers smuggle out of Zimbabwe.

Howard ‘Howie’ Baker, Simon Rudland’s associate[33]

Mohammed Khan, known as Mo Dollars, prepared false invoices on behalf of Gold Leaf concerning fictitious tobacco imports, which caused tens of millions of dollars to flow into Baker’s accounts. Khan, in addition to having a proven ring of corrupt bank officials in his employ to clear and falsify wire transfers, Forex reports and account statements, owns PKSA and SALT Asset Management in South Africa, two financial services companies that are involved in falsifying invoices and opening bank accounts by stealing or ‘buying’ the identity details of South African citizens; Some of the money then destined to leave the country is put into these accounts, thanks to Khan’s control mainly over Sasfin Bank, but also over ABSA Bank (he bribes the manager Videsh Seeripat), Standard Bank, South Africa’s largest bank (here the relationship is with Vivian Naicker, senior manager of the compliance division), and Habib Overseas Bank[34] .

In addition to Aulion, other companies used for bogus imports are Mauritius-based Vantage Leaf, Swiss Velmont Valley SA and US-based Liberty Gold, owned by Andries Greyvensteyn[35] , who is also a partner in Aulion Global[36] . According to Zimbabwean gold smuggler Ewan Macmillan, Rudland finances the whole of Zimbabwe through his own network; this is probably true, given that Rudland lends money directly to the government of President Emmerson Mnangagwa, with the complicity of Uebert Angel, a businessman, evangelical preacher, ambassador and special envoy of the Zimbabwean president; the British Rikki Doolan[37] – married to Angel’s niece Nicola[38] – is a musician and preacher, as well as working as Angel’s right-hand man[39] . Rudland’s partners in the deal also include retired General Stanford Madala Khumalo, former Energy Minister – under sanctions – Michael Reuben Nyambuya and former Mnangagwa Foreign Minister Sibusiso Moyo.

In return, Rudland receives the opportunity to buy gold directly from Fidelity Printers and Refiners, the Central Bank of Zimbabwe’s refinery, which his couriers then smuggle out of the country through a proven system of corrupt customs and airport officials, thus making a major contribution to money laundering. Macmillan and colleague Alistair Mathias (who boasts friendships with the presidents of Zambia, Congo DRC, Ghana and the king of Swaziland[40] ) claim to have worked directly with Mnangagwa. The president’s granddaughter, Henrietta Rushwaya[41] , has been running the Zimbabwe Mining Federation (ZMF) since 2018[42] : her role allows her to receive money through Fidelity Printers and Refiners, which we will discuss later, exporting the gold counter value outside the country.

Mnangagwa’s wife Auxilia is also involved in money laundering[43] . Political allies of the president such as former State Security member Owen ‘Mudha’ Ncube and Pedzisayi ‘Scott’ Sakupwanya are involved in the ‘Gold Mafia’ scandal. Susan Mutami, a Zimbabwean woman now residing in Australia who accuses Mnangawa of rape, reveals that in 2019 Russian mining investors paid $150,000 to the president in order to strike a deal. The signing of the deals between the Russians and Mining Minister Chitando is stalled by the latter’s reticence, so they offer the sum to Polite Kambamura, Chitando’s deputy, who takes the investors to Mnangagwa’s residence near Victoria Falls, where the signing takes place.

Mnangagwa was at the centre of an initial gold scandal in 2003, when the then President of the Palament was accused of receiving ZWL 8 million (Zimbabwe dollars) from Mark Matthew Burden. Burden, who owns a number of duly licensed mining operations, including the Ivan Hoe mine and custom gold mining facilities, is responsible for milling gold from miners and prospectors in Mnangagwa’s hometown of Kwekwe without a trading licence and then buying it at black market prices.

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his wife Auxilia[44]

In the investigation for this crime, cheques for 8 million Zimbabwean dollars in favour of the future president turn up. Mnangagwa’s name is later removed from the charge sheet; 2,000 kg of material is found at Burden’s house, suspected of trying to export gold illegally[45] . Auxilia Mnangagwa and her son Collins are involved in the affair of Henrietta Rushwaya, who in October 2020 is arrested at Harare airport with about 6 kg of gold in her suitcase, without any export authorisation[46] , bound for Dubai[47] . Her co-defendants in the affair are Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) officials Steven Tserayi[48] and Raphios Mufandauya, Pakistani businessman Ali Muhammad and Henrietta’s colleague at ZMF Gift Karanda[49] .

In November 2020, Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi allegedly abused his position to persuade David Whitehead Textiles Ltd’s judicial director, Knowledge Hofisi, to grant him a letter of authorisation for gold mining in the Mashonaland West region; he allegedly forced Hofisi to deny consent to another company obtaining the authorisation earlier[50] . Other officials of Zanu PF, Mnangagwa’s party, are simultaneously engaged in the race to grab mining licences in the area: Senate President Mabel Chinomona, Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa and former Bulawayo Metropolitan Province Minister Angeline Masuku get it the same day they apply for it, without first having an environmental impact assessment certificate, coordinates and a working area fixed.

So they can join with holders of mining claims to kick-start the business: among them, in Mashonaland West, are Mike Chimombe, national secretary of the Zanu PF Youth League for Indigenisation and Dexter Nduna, former Zanu PF MP in Chegutu. In Midlands Province, we find senior Cabinet officials, including State Security Minister Owen Ncube and former Mbizo legislator Vongai Mupereri, who led the invasion of the Gaika mine and defied the High Court order to leave the mine[51] .

The arrest in 2020 was not Rushwaya’s first trouble with the law: in 2008 she was tried for embezzling money from the Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA), of which she is managing director; in the same year she was arrested for attempting to obstruct the investigation against her. In 2012, she was arrested by the Anti-Corruption Commission on charges of corruption and match-fixing related to the Asiagate scandal. She appeared in court on 11 counts of concealment of transactions by an unidentified principal, two counts of fraud and a further 15 counts of bribery amounting to USD 1 million.

Henrietta Rushwaya[52]

In 2014, she was arrested again for extorting hundreds of thousands of dollars from Walter Magaya, leader of the Prophetic Healing and Deliverance Ministries. In April 2016 Henrietta was arrested for manipulating other matches and for being the central figure in an organisation involving referees, players and journalists (Limopopogate scandal). The following October, she was sacked by ZIFA[53] . Helliate Rushwaya, Henrietta’s sister, is the chief executive officer of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) from May 2020 to June 2021, when she is replaced by Adelaide Chikunguru, until then director of corporate communications at Tongaat Hulett Group[54] .

Henrietta’s cousin, Martin Rushwaya, is the former Secretary to the Ministry of Defence and current Deputy Chief Secretary for Administration and Finance in the Office of the President and Cabinet[55] ; in 2010, Martin founded Greatgem Corp. in Seychelles[56] . At the same time, the Zimbabwean Army entered into an agreement with the Chinese company Anhui Foreign Economic Construction Group, creating the Anjin Company to mine diamonds in the Marange mines[57] . Greatgem would play a role in administering the proceeds of the ore trade[58] .

Gift Karanda, who works with Henrietta Rushwaya at the Mining Association, reveals to the police that the gold transported by the woman belongs to the wife and son of the president. According to Rushwaya, however, the gold (which has Dubai as its destination) belongs to the Pakistani Ali Mohamad (owner of Japan786, an automobile import company). Mohamad is arrested along with Stephen Chenjerai Tserayi, President Mnangagwa’s security assistant and Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) agent Raphios Mufandauya, as well as Karanda for obstruction of justice[59] . Auxilia and the president’s entourage are also implicated in the scandal that erupted from the case between tycoon Mohammed Zakariya Patel and Ismail Moosa Lunat, Patel’s accountant from May 2018 to July 2019. Documents in the possession of investigators reveal money laundering, illegal transactions and gold trafficking involving Mnangagwa’s office and Auxilia[60]

After his first troubles with the law in the 1990s[61] , Ewan Macmillan officially started in 2003, when the then 32-year-old was arrested in Zimbabwe together with his father Ian Hugh and driver Claire Lynn Burdett for smuggling some 145 kg of gold into South Africa: the state’s Gold Trade Act prohibits anyone except the Reserve Bank from exporting gold. At the time Macmillan owned two mines in Bindura and Shamva[62] .  Prior to the uproar caused by the Gold Mafia investigation, in March 2023, the Insurance and Pension Commission (IPEC), in coordination with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), declared that it had commenced thorough investigations into the assets belonging to Uebert Angel and Ewan Macmillan, an act required under the Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Act (MLPCA)[63] .

Prophet Uebert Angel with his family[64]

The sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe weaken its economic power, favouring the business dealings of people who can exploit privileged positions in the economic (Rudland) or diplomatic spheres to great advantage. Uebert Angel uses his status as Ambassador to facilitate the transit of laundered gold, operating with the approval of the president and talking about laundering directly on the phone with his wife Auxilia Mnangagwa. Angel, whose real name is Uebert Mudzanire, is a Zimbabwean citizen living in the United Kingdom[65] .

He was appointed Plenipotentiary Ambassador for Europe and the Americas and Special Envoy of President Mnangagwa in March 2021, with responsibility for creating new business opportunities for the country[66] . Until then, Angel devotes himself to his work as a Christian prophet, founding his own church, the Spirit Embassy, in 2007. In the company of his wife Beverly Angel, the prophetess, he expands the believer base over time, opening branches of the cult in several African countries, but also in the United States and the United Kingdom[67] .

The sermons of the two became a great success thanks to the miracles performed by the prophet (predictions of the future, production of money, gold and diamonds), which were broadcast on his TV channels: GoodNews TV, YourMiracleTV, as well as Facebook and YouTube[68] ; in May 2023, the TV sites no longer broadcast live and the church’s YouTube account was closed. In 2015, the church changed its name to Spirit Embassy – The GoodNews Church[69] . His business studies lead him to run his church; in addition to selling merchandising and books written by him and his wife, he attends numerous conferences and teaches at the Millionaire Academy, a school for becoming rich that he founded. Angel is also the creator of the Osborne Institute of Theology, an online theology school[70] .

Regarding entrepreneurship, in 2005 he founded Club Millionaire, a company that provides concierges; the business proved successful, providing him with the impetus to jump into real estate, first with housing and then with commercial real estate, operating through several holding companies in Europe, Africa and Asia. In 2017, The Billion Group Ltd. holding company was established[71] , incorporating companies such as Sam Barkeley Construction, The Angel Organisation, Black Stallion and the aforementioned Millionaire Academy[72] . In 2018 he bought the first hotel in France of what was to become the Beverly Angel Hotel chain[73] . In the same year, he founded Brits Money Ltd Bank in the UK, entrusting its ownership to his wife Beverly[74] . Brits Money is an online bank whose sponsoring institutions are Wells Fargo and Barclays[75] .

A Bentley like the one taken by Uebert Angel from one of his faithful [76]

Over time his fame grew, leading him to win the trophy as Zimbabwe’s most influential citizen, partly due to his philanthropic commitments[77] . Angel is reported in 2014 for fraud by Ndabazinengi Shava, a believer whose $300,000 Bentley was stolen by the prophet a year ago on the promise that Shava would find three times as much in his path within eight months[78] . In 2018, he was involved in a sex scandal for asking a believer very close to him to find young women with whom to have sex[79] .

In smuggling gold, Angel collaborates with his brother Limit Mudzanire and Dr Sobona Mtisi, who is responsible for Ambassador Angel’s investments and projects; Mitsi is married to Joy, Angel’s niece and sister of Nicola (Rikki Doolan’s wife)[80] . At the end of March, Angel was removed as ambassador, losing his diplomatic status[81] .

Andries Greyvensteyn

Andries Greyvensteyn[82]

Andries Greyvensteyn is the director (for a time together with Khan and Baker[83] ) of Gold Kid, a South African gold trading company: Gold Kid is one of the companies used by Khan to launder money. Greyvensteyn owns the US company Liberty Gold, a gateway to the US for Rudland’s dirty money thanks to the fake invoices prepared by Khan. The invoices are advance payments on imports, useful to justify the exit of capital from the country while waiting for a countervalue in goods that, however, does not arrive. Greyvensteyn, model Kalandra Viljoen and Carlo Stickling control AMFS Asset Movement & Financial Services (Pty) Ltd; in 2018 they are accused of managing, through AMFS (now closed), funds from the Namibian SME Bank (led by Zimbabwean Enock Kamushinda) that were officially paid (with the authorisation of the institution’s former CEO, Tawanda Mumvuma[84] ) to Mauwane Kotane’s Mamepe Capital and from there to VBS Bank, which does not repay the claim due to lack of evidence of the same.

The SME Bank’s liquidators, reconstructing the path of the money (196 million Namibian dollars), believe that it had in fact transited from the bank to two companies: Moody Blue Trade & Investments 14 (Pty) Ltd and AMFS of Greyvensteyn; the companies’ accounts are frozen[85] . Also involved in the affair were World Eagle Investments and the Metropolitan Bank of Zimbabwe (Metbank), both owned by Kamushinda, who was ordered to pay Namibian dollars 1.02 billion to the liquidators of SME Bank[86] .

As the investigation into SME Bank continued, Omulunga Capital Investments CC, administered by Zimbabwean Cosmas Mushininga (a close relative of former SME Bank finance director Joseph Banda), was also put into liquidation. Omulunga allegedly received money from AMFS through SME, whose former finance director, Joseph Banda, is a close relative of Mushininga (the two also share a residential address in Windohek). Arriving in Namibia on 28 January 2016, Mushininga opened two accounts with SME Bank.

On 21 January 2016, Aulion Global Trading DMCC (a Dubai company in which Howard Baker is involved) pays Namibian dollars 64.5 million to Omulunga Capital; on 26 January Howard Baker, who also runs Pivot Capital (Pty) Ltd, instructs Kalandra Viljoen of AMFS to transfer Namibian dollars 7.1 million to an account at Standard Bank belonging to SME Bank. The payment instruction reads: ‘Omulunga Capital Investments’. AMFS makes the money transfer, which is then moved to Mushininga’s SME Bank account through the work of Beatrice Kahunda, the former head of executive banking at SME Bank. For this and other, subsequent, transfers, the money trail again sees AMFS transfer money into accounts that SME Bank has with Standard Bank or FNB Namibia; the sums are then paid into Omulunga Capital’s accounts at SME Bank and finally to Aulion Global, which receives 25.7 million Namibian dollars from AMFS[87] .   

In 2021, Greyvensteyn, Quinton Hendricks, Morne Botha and Johan van der Linden were found guilty in South Africa of illegally possessing and trading in raw gold. They were sentenced to pay 150,000 Rand or five years in prison, with half a suspended sentence[88] .

Kamlesh Pattni

Kamlesh Pattni[89]

Kamlesh Pattni is a prominent Kenyan gold trader operating from Harare. He is able to launder huge amounts of money by making them disappear into the many rivulets of his global business network: a jewellery store, a hotel chain, some real estate companies in the UK are the destination of the funds that arrive from Pattni’s companies in Dubai.  Pattni is also a religious leader; his charity called ‘Hand of Hope’ is a front for money laundering: Pattni gives out bribes disguised as donations.

David Chirozvi is the recipient of one of these[90] . Chirzovi is the financial director[91] of the jewellery manufacturer Aurex Holding Limited[92] . Two out of three Aurex members work for the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe: Farai Masendu and Philip Tapera Madamombe[93] . Chirozvi acts in the network as finance manager; Pattni’s company ‘Suzan General Trading Limited’ has a concession from Aurex to export gold and diamond jewellery. For the service, Suzan General receives a commission of 18% of the export value from the Zimbabwean government. Suzan also has a licence to purchase gold bullion on behalf of Fidelity Printers and Refiners, a gold printing and refining company owned by the Reserve Bank of Harare[94] .

Pattni has Mehluleli Dube on his payroll ($3,000 monthly), who is responsible for both Fidelity’s gold operations and concessions for sales and purchases. Fradreck Kunaka is Fidelity’s general manager; he too is paid by Pattni ($30,000 monthly). Kunaka’s approval, more than Dube’s, is crucial for obtaining the concessions. Through these channels Pattni can move 80-100 kg of gold per day. Macmillan also has a Fidelity approval to buy gold from Zimbabwean mining companies[95] .

In April 2023, the Central Bank of Zimbabwe ordered the freezing of assets belonging to David Chirozvi, Mehlululi Dube, Fredrick Kunaka and another element involved in the Gold Mafia investigation: Cleopas Chidodo. Chidodo is the head of security at the Zimbabwe Civil Aviation Authority: he assists smugglers departing from Harare’s Robert Gabriel Mugabe Airport, creating the conditions for their free passage to Dubai[96] via Emirates flight EK714 Harare-Dubai; EK713 is the number of the return flight. Rudland’s personal smugglers are Patrick Keith, Talmage George Alexander, Peter Bowen, Terrance Ian Keith and Johannes Swan[97] .

Pattni is known to have masterminded a gold export scam – the Goldenberg scandal – that embezzled USD 600 million from Kenya[98] in the 1990s and led to corruption charges against several members of then-President Daniel Arap Moi’s government. After years of trial, Pattni was acquitted[99] .

Like Pattni, Macmillan and Mathias also take gold out of the country to sell it in Dubai through shell companies, into whose bank accounts the clean money from the sale is transferred[100] . The so-called hawala system plays a significant role in the money laundering chain that passes through Dubai. Hawala is a way of transferring cash across borders by circumventing customs controls. It is based on trust and connections and is often legitimately used in areas where people do not have access to banks. Since there are no official transactions on the books, this system is also ideal for money laundering, making it impossible for the authorities to trace the flows.

Cleopas Chidodo with the wife of former President Mugabe[101]

According to former FBI investigator Karen Greenaway, who now works as an anti-money laundering consultant, Dubai uses policies based on the absence of control in free zones to attract the most capital (no matter if licit or illicit), a means to become a world-class financial centre. One such free zone is Jumeirah Lake Towers (JLT), where Pattni has one of its offices[102] .

Pattni (and his collaborator Dmytro Abakumov[103] ) and Macmillan bring Zimbabwean gold to Dubai, where it is melted down and stamped with the stamp of the local refinery, eliminating traces of smuggling and making it easier to sell, as it does not come from a sanctioned country like Zimbabwe[104] . In 2013, Amjad Rihan conducted an investigation on behalf of Ernst&Young into Kaloti, then Dubai’s largest gold refinery: it emerged that Kaloti moves around $5.2 billion in cash every year.

For 40 per cent of this money flow, risk assessment and customer due diligence is very difficult. Kaloti does business with sanctioned countries or subjects, such as Sudan; subsequent investigations link Kaloti’s activities to money laundering and the financing of organised crime[105] . Kaloti buys gold bars from Morocco disguised as silver to circumvent the limit on gold exports. The smuggled gold is owned by Renade International, the front of a criminal gang that collects criminal money throughout the UK and the rest of Europe and uses it to buy and sell gold on the black market; 3.6 tonnes of gold were allegedly sold by Renade to Kaloti in 2012[106] .

Rihan was sacked by Ernst&Young for revealing the content of its investigation after the company’s decision to keep it secret[107] .

Anna Waterhouse works at Deutsche Bank in Dubai, where she oversees the compliance of transactions with local and international transaction laws. In compiling a suspicious activity report (SAR) against Kaloti, Waterhouse describes how the report started with reports from a Dubai bank, which was concerned because the refinery was withdrawing so much cash from its account that it had to use wheelbarrows to transport it. The money the bank is using comes from Kaloti’s account at Deutsche Bank.

Despite Waterhouse’s report and insistence, Deutsche Bank does not investigate the movement of money, nor does the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA)[108] . In 2015, the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC), the main licensing body for commodities trading, removed Kaloti from the list of gold refiners approved by Dubai[109] .

Scott Sakupwanya[110]

In April 2023, Scott Sakupwanya emerges as the candidate of the Zanu Patriotic Front – the party of former president Robert Mugabe and Mnangagwa) in the Mabvuku constituency in Harare. Sakupwanya, in dealings with the president, is described by Uebert Angel as Zimbabwe’s main smuggler and fully implicated in the Gold Mafia investigation. He started as a driver and mechanic for Ewan MacMillan, and later became self-employed, smuggling gold to Dubai through the mining company Betterbrands Mining Pvt Ltd[111] .

The Centre for Natural Resources Governance (CNRG) denounces Sakupwanya in connection with illicit financial flows worth $1.9 billion a year from the illegal export of three tonnes of gold. ‘Zimbabwe’s Disappearing Gold: The Case of Mazowe and Penhalonga’ is a report in which the CNRG points to Sakupwanya as having been instructed by the political elite to buy gold in certain parts of the country, such as Mazowe and Panhalonga; he is said to be among the traders who deliver less than half of the gold to Fidelity and Partners, smuggling the rest out of the country through a well-structured and well-established system[112] .

According to Fadzayi Mahere, spokesperson for the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) party, part of the huge proceeds of smuggling are used to finance the ruling party and its aims of changing essential constitutional regulations to safeguard the democratic balance[113] . According to the CNRG report, less than 30% of the extracted gold ends up at Fidelity Printers and Refiners; apart from Dubai, the rest ends up in South Africa, China and India. South Africa is reached by land to serve the local market, but also as a stopover to reach more distant destinations by air; Mozambique and Zambia also serve as hubs to other destinations[114] .

Betterbrands Mining Pvt Ltd, the Sakupwanya company, together with Prime Royal Private limited, took control of the Redwing Mining Company (Penhalonga) in December 2020, as part of a fraudulent operation by the director of Tudor House Consultants, Cecil Hondo Madondo, who, as liquidator of Redwing, sold the same mining lots to several buyers: Madondo ends up in court and Betterbrands acquires an asset[115] . Sakupwanya would then ship some of the gold extracted by Redwing to Kwekwe (the president’s hometown), where Mnangagwa’s men would mill it. From Kwekwe would come the hit squads sent into the mine to quell the uprisings of miners protesting the harassment suffered by the owner of Betterbrands, including the use of trusted miners (not hired by Redwing) to extract the gold allegedly destined for the illegal market[116] .

In December 2021, Betterbrands’ activities at Redwing were suspended by the government and a joint venture agreement was entered into with Duatlet Investments, a holding company of which Betterbrands itself, Prime Royal Africa and Probadek Investments Limited are members. The latter is one of the companies that purchase Redwing’s lots from Madondo[117] in 2020. In January 2022, Knowledge Hofisi, who succeeded Madondo in the bankruptcy proceedings in April 2021, cancelled the agreement with Dualet and reinstated Betterbrands at the helm of Redwings, triggering renewed vehement protests among workers and local communities[118] .

Khadem Al Qubaisi[119]

Nyasa Manufacturing Company, which exclusively distributes the RG cigarette brand (owned by Gold Leaf) in Malawi, owns Nyasa Big Bullets FC, a football team sponsored by the First Capital Bank (FCB) of Malawi. The bank is owned by Hitesh Anadkat, a Malawian of Asian origin. FCB also operates in Zimbabwe.

Both Simon Rudland and Anadakt own companies with sponsorship stakes in Nyasa Big Bullets, a subsidiary of the Nyasa Manufacturing Company. Anadkat and his wife Meeta have stakes in other Malawian companies and in Letshego Holdings, a microfinance holding company based in Gaborone. In 2021, the Pandora Papers reveal that since 2010, the Anadkat family also owns Reid International Limited (British Virgins Island); Reid International Ltd makes payments to Premier Capital Ltd (Mauritius), a company that owns First Capital Bank. In 2014, Reid International Ltd borrows $750,000 from Falcon Private Bank in Zurich, Switzerland[120] .

In December 2021, Falcon was sentenced by the Swiss Federal Criminal Court to pay a fine of CHF 3.5 million for strict corporate liability in a money laundering ring, having allowed the former CEO to illegally pay EUR 133 million abroad between 2012 and 2016. He also allegedly paid EUR 61 million to Khadem Al Qubaisi, chairman of the institution’s board of directors from 2009 to 2011 and former CEO of the Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund Abaar Investments, owner of Falcon Private Bank[121] . Former head of Abu Dhabi’s International Petroleum Investment Company, Al Qubaisi was sentenced to fifteen years in prison in the United Arab Emirates for a global scandal linked to Malaysian sovereign wealth funds[122] .

A political class hungry for wealth and power beyond all reason, a porous and corrupt regulatory system of international trade: these are the ingredients at the basis of the story that sees a large group of men erect smuggling and the laundering of illegal proceeds as an economic system capable of financially supporting the State that should supervise their activities and punish their offences, making the protagonists of the events described, in fact, unpunishable and almost unknown to international public opinion . The Al Jazeera television channel published a film on the Gold Mafia full of even more shocking insights and direct testimonies than what has been reported so far, without this substantially affecting the course of events[123] . Journalism now increasingly seems to be an act of weak and unheeded testimony.

Diagram of the companies involved in international gold and cigarette smuggling, which has Mnangagwa and Rudland’s Zimbabwe as its epicenter

Download the diagram as a PDF


[1] https://www.news24.com/News24/tobacco-boss-simon-rudland-critical-following-apparent-assassination-attempt-in-joburg-20190815

[2] https://www.news24.com/news24/tobacco-wars-hits-threats-and-secret-ops-behind-the-simon-rudland-attempted-hit-20190817

[3] https://find-and-update.company-information.service.gov.uk/company/02538541/persons-with-significant-control

[4] The Maravi Post, 11th April 2023

[5] https://nyasamanufacturing.com/

[6] The Maravi Post, 11th April 2023

[7] https://briefly.co.za/facts-lifehacks/celebrities-biographies/156216-who-owner-gold-leaf-tobacco-corporation-simon-rudland/

[8] https://africanfinancials.com/company/zw-unif/

[9] https://www.reuters.com/markets/companies/UNIF.ZI/

[10] https://find-and-update.company-information.service.gov.uk/company/02538541/officers

[11] https://find-and-update.company-information.service.gov.uk/company/02538541/persons-with-significant-control

[12] https://braemar.com/

[13] https://amabhungane.org/stories/220413-who-is-really-behind-the-r2-billion-tongaat-hulett-bid/

[14] https://www.zse.co.zw/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/ZHL-Annual-Report-2020.pdf

[15] https://zhl.co.zw/

[16] https://newzwire.live/sweet-deal-how-zimbabwes-wealthy-rudland-family-plans-to-take-over-one-of-southern-africas-biggest-sugar-producers/

[17] https://opencorporates.com/companies/mu/C125293

[18] https://landmatrix.org/investor/42437/

[19] https://www.globaldata.com/company-profile/tongaat-hulett-ltd/

[20] https://newzwire.live/sweet-deal-how-zimbabwes-wealthy-rudland-family-plans-to-take-over-one-of-southern-africas-biggest-sugar-producers/

[21] https://www.linkedin.com/company/sabmiller/?trk=public_profile_experience-item_profile-section-card_image-click&originalSubdomain=it

[22] https://www.businesslive.co.za/fm/features/cover-story/2023-02-02-can-tongaat-hulett-be-saved/

[23] https://www.businesslive.co.za/fm/features/cover-story/2023-02-02-can-tongaat-hulett-be-saved/

[24] https://amabhungane.org/stories/220413-who-is-really-behind-the-r2-billion-tongaat-hulett-bid/

[25] https://www.businesslive.co.za/fm/opinion/editorial/2022-09-01-editorial-tongaat-dodges-a-bullet/

[26] https://www.businesslive.co.za/fm/opinion/editorial/2022-09-01-editorial-tongaat-dodges-a-bullet/

[27] https://www.sars.gov.za/media-release/media-statement-on-gold-leaf-tobacco/

[28] https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2022-09-12-sasfin-gold-leaf-whatsapp-r3bn-dirty-money-washed-through/

[29] https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2022-09-12-sasfin-gold-leaf-whatsapp-r3bn-dirty-money-washed-through/

[30] https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2022-08-26-r3-billion-sars-swoops-on-gold-leaf-tobacco-over-transnational-plunder-network/

[31] https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2022-09-12-sasfin-gold-leaf-whatsapp-r3bn-dirty-money-washed-through/

[32] https://www.news24.com/fin24/companies/gold-scam-robs-sa-of-billions-says-sars-20220203

[33] https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/3/30/who-are-the-gold-mafia-a-cigarette-don-and-a-man-named

[34] https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/4/14/six-secrets-uncovered-by-al-jazeeras-gold-mafia-investigation

[35] The Zimbabwean (UK), 31st March 2023

[36] Al Jazeera English, 30th March 2023

[37] https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/3/30/who-are-the-gold-mafia-a-cigarette-don-and-a-man-named

[38] The Zimbabwean (UK), 26th March 2023

[39] New Zimbabwe, 1st April 2023

[40] New Zimbabwe, 14th Arpil 2023

[41] https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/3/30/who-are-the-gold-mafia-a-cigarette-don-and-a-man-named

[42] New Zimbabwe, 9th November 2020

[43] https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/3/30/who-are-the-gold-mafia-a-cigarette-don-and-a-man-named

[44] https://www.newzimbabwe.com/mnangagwas-adultery-accuser-freed-on-rtgs500-bail/

[45] The Zimbabwean (UK), 26th March 2023

[46] https://country.eiu.com/article.aspx?articleid=1520315135&Country=Zimbabwe&topic=Politics&subtopic_3

[47] The Zimbabwean, 28th July 2022

[48] New Zimbabwe, 9th November 2020

[49] NewsDay, 10 November 2020

[50] NewsDay, 10 November 2020

[51] https://www.thezimbabwenewslive.com/zimbabwe-cabinet-ministers-award-themselves-gold-mining-licenses/

[52] https://www.thezimbabwemail.com/zimbabwe/who-is-henrietta-rushwaya/

[53] New Zimbabwe, 9th November 2020

[54] https://www.herald.co.zw/zbc-appoints-new-substantive-ceo/

[55] https://www.thezimbabwemail.com/zimbabwe/who-is-henrietta-rushwaya/

[56] https://rapaport.com/post_types/pandora-papers-the-diamond-connection/

[57] http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/africa/2021-05/19/c_139956744.htm

[58] https://rapaport.com/post_types/pandora-papers-the-diamond-connection/

[59] https://www.thezimbabwean.co/2020/10/rushwaya-accomplice-implicates-auxillia-mnangagwa-son-collins/

[60] https://bulawayo24.com/index-id-news-sc-national-byo-228998.html

[61] New Zimbabwe, 14th April 2023

[62] The Herald, 8th November 2003

[63] Global Data Point, 23rd March 2023

[64] https://nehandaradio.com/2018/01/30/prophet-uebert-angel-wealth-exposed/

[65] https://osborninstitute.com/prophet-uebert-angel

[66] https://www.herald.co.zw/president-appoints-angel-ambassador/

[67] https://bulawayo24.com/index-id-news-sc-national-byo-2000-article-Pastor+Uebert+Angel+to+set+up+church+headquarters+in+Zim.html

[68] https://www.uebertangel.org/

[69] https://christiandiet.com.ng/biography-of-prophet-uebert-angel/

[70] https://osborninstitute.com/prophet-uebert-angel

[71] https://find-and-update.company-information.service.gov.uk/company/10852745

[72] https://www.linkedin.com/in/Uebert-angel/

[73] The Maravi Post, 28th May 2018

[74] https://nehandaradio.com/2018/10/22/brits-money-pictures-from-beverly-angel-bank-launch-in-the-uk/amp/nggallery/page/3

[75]h ttps://youthvillage.co.zw/entrepreneurship/top-5-things-you-should-know-about-uebert-beverly-angel-s-brits-bank/

[76] https://www.facebook.com/ZimbabweanBreakingNews/photos/a.190967947710542/510114355795898/?type=3

[77] https://www.forbesafrica.com/focus/2014/05/01/the-prophet-of-success/

[78] https://www.herald.co.zw/angel-up-for-300k-fraud/

[79] https://suttoncblog.com/2018/03/27/false-prophets-shepherd-bushiri-and-uebert-angel-exposed-in-sex-scandal/ ; https://www.zimeye.net/2021/03/03/uebert-angel-sex-scandal-more-victims-speak-6-year-long-investigation/

[80] The Zimbabwean (UK), 26th March 2023

[81] https://www.dailymirror.lk/top_story/Zimbabwe%E2%80%99s-Uebert-Angel-fired–faces-arrest/155-256917#:~:text=One%20of%20Zimbabwe’s%20most%20influential,to%20Europe%20and%20the%20Americas.

[82] https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/3/30/who-are-the-gold-mafia-a-cigarette-don-and-a-man-named

[83] Al Jazeera English, 30th March 2023

[84] Namibian Sun, 1st October 2019

[85] Namibian Sun, 28th August 2018

[86] https://newzwire.live/kamushinda-metbank-looted-n247m-from-namibian-bank-court/

[87] Namibian Sun, 1st October 2019

[88] https://maroelamedia.co.za/nuus/sa-nuus/grootkop-in-goudmynbedryf-gevonnis/

[89] https://www.standardmedia.co.ke/africa/article/2001469599/kamlesh-pattni-spotlighted-in-al-jazeera-expose

[90] https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/3/30/who-are-the-gold-mafia-a-cigarette-don-and-a-man-named

[91] Business Weekly, 10 April 2023

[92] https://aurex.co.zw/

[93] https://aurex.co.zw/our-team/board-members/

[94] https://zimpackaging.co.zw/directory/fidelity-printers-refiners/

[95] https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/4/14/six-secrets-uncovered-by-al-jazeeras-gold-mafia-investigation

[96] Bne-Intellinews, 6th April 2023

[97] The Maravi Post, 11th Arpil 2023

[98] Zimbabwe Today, 3rd March 2023

[99] https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/3/23/gold-smuggler-pattni-kenya-zimbabwe

[100] New Zimbabwe, 24th March 2023

[101] https://twitter.com/263Chat/status/1646840724485464065

[102] https://balkans.aljazeera.net/teme/2023/4/9/sta-privlaci-zlatnu-mafiju-u-dubai

[103] The Zimbabwean (UK), 26th March 2023

[104] New Zimbabwe, 6th April 2023

[105] https://www.bbc.com/news/business-52331443

[106] https://www.cityam.com/ey-accused-of-failing-to-report-drug-gangs-gold-bar-money-laundering/

[107] https://www.bbc.com/news/business-52331443

[108] https://www.bbc.com/news/business-50859110 ; https://www.bbc.com/news/business-50205956

[109] https://www.thenationalnews.com/business/dmcc-removes-kaloti-from-dubai-good-delivery-list-over-gold-sourcing-1.34979

[110] https://wiki.pindula.co.zw/Pedzai_Sakupwanya

[111] The Standard (Zimbabwe), 8th April 2023

[112] https://landportal.org/library/resources/zimbabwes-disappearing-gold-case-mazowe-and-penhalonga

[113] The Standard (Zimbabwe), 8th April 2023

[114] The Standard (Zimbabwe), 16th July 2022

[115] NewsDay, 3rd February 2021

[116] The Standard (Zimbabwe), 9th October 2021

[117] The Chronicle, 7th December 2021

[118] NewsDay, 10th February 2022

[119] https://www.thenationalnews.com/business/property/khadem-al-qubaisi-steps-down-as-aabar-properties-chairman-1.54969

[120] https://www.maravipost.com/pandora-papers-malawis-first-capital-bank-owner-hetesh-anadkat-banked-his-money-beyond-tax-collectors/

[121]h ttps://www.swissinfo.ch/ita/tutte-le-notizie-in-breve/tpf–multa-di-3-5-milioni-a–falcon-bank–ex-ceo-prosciolto/47195418

[122] https://www.wsj.com/articles/alleged-1mdb-co-conspirators-sentenced-to-prison-11560677550

[123] https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/3/30/who-are-the-gold-mafia-a-cigarette-don-and-a-man-named

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