THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) could be losing billions of dollars through the funding of Operation Chuma/Igolide and Chikorokoza Chapera amidst all
egations that police are submitting falsified gold recovery returns to justify maintaining the operations in which officers are reportedly pocketing millions dollars in allowances.
The two operations started in November last year with the Criminal Investigations Department’s minerals section launching Operation Chuma/Igolide and the Duty Uniform Branch (DUB) running Chikorokoza Chapera.
According to impeccable sources in the police and the central bank, senior officers administering the operations are remitting falsified returns to justify continuation of the operations without corresponding gold recoveries, arrests and prosecution of suspects.
There is also alleged gross abuse of vehicles and fuel allocated for the operations by senior officers.
Officers in the CID’s minerals section who keep the records, reportedly get $90 million a month in allowances while their DUB counterparts on the ground and who work away from their stations, get $23 million a month.
This discrepancy in allowances has, the sources say, caused animosity between the two police sections and morale is reportedly low among DUB officers.
The DUB officers are reported to be operating under difficult conditions without adequate resources like vehicles, uniforms and camping tents.
However, it is the continued funding of the operations by the central bank that has raised eyebrows among officers.
The officers said there were no clear checks and balances or corresponding exhibits and suspects for the returns that were being submitted.
The sources said a senior central bank official in the financial intelligence department (name supplied) who appeared critical of the operations was removed at the behest of senior police officers.
“What is happening is that CID minerals teams who claim to be carrying out surveillance on production at mines, are attributing purported increased production to their presence,” said a source.
“Mines are remitting their normal monthly returns to the Ministry of Mines and Fidelity Printers in terms of the Mines and Minerals Act and the operation teams are claiming that particular gold quantities produced are as a result of their surveillance. There are no tangible exhibits in terms of recoveries of gold that could have been hidden elsewhere,” said one of the sources.
“A provincial minerals team is made up of over 70 officers, and considering that these operations are nationwide, the RBZ has since last year pumped out billions of dollars,” said another source.
There were media reports recently that the RBZ had stepped up gold audits to plug losses in deliveries from producers.
RBZ spokesman Tonderai Mukeredzi said he had forwarded written questions by the Zimbabwe Independent to the Fidelity Printers chief executive officer three weeks ago and no response could be obtained at the time of going to press.
Police spokesman Chief Superintendent Oliver Mandipaka could not be reached for comment.
The sources said there was need for the RBZ to investigate the operations as it could be “pumping money down the drain”.