A documentary by Al Jazeera that revealed massive financial fraud involving gold and money laundering across several African countries has prompted the South African government to launch a criminal investigation.
The four-part documentary, called ‘Gold Mafia’, featured interviews with rogue businessmen who admitted to running a lucrative gold smuggling and money laundering operation that exploited the loopholes in the banking system.
South African president Cyril Ramaphosa said in Parliament that the government was taking the allegations very seriously and that it was determined to protect the integrity of its financial system for the benefit of the economy and the citizens.
He said that an inquiry had been registered to investigate the syndicate and the individuals who were allegedly involved in the criminal activities, as shown in the documentary.
President @CyrilRamaphosa announces an inquiry into our Gold Mafia investigation in South Africa’s parliament.— Al Jazeera Investigations (@AJIunit) May 12, 2023
He says authorities will ‘thoroughly investigate’ individuals exposed as ‘criminally implicated’. #GoldMafia pic.twitter.com/9Ow74fnDVr
He added that no arrests had been made yet and that he could not disclose more details as the financial action taskforce was working on the case.
The documentary also mentioned Ghana, where one of the self-confessed money launderers, Alistair Mathias, claimed to be friends with president Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, who had once been his lawyer.
However, Akufo-Addo denied knowing Mathias and his lawyer also refuted that he had ever represented Mathias or his company. Mathias later retracted his claim and said he did not know Akufo-Addo.
The Ghanaian government demanded an apology and a retraction from Al Jazeera for some parts of their reportage, but the Qatar-based channel refused to do so, saying that it had done its due diligence and presented both sides of the story.
Source: The Independent Ghana