The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has frozen a US$1 million deposit held by a local bank amid suspicions it could be proceeds from an illegal gold deal involving 27 kilogrammes of bullion exported by a company listed in President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s externalisation list released last month, the Zimbabwe Independent has learnt.
By Hazel Ndebele
The gold was apparently exported from Zimbabwe by an Israeli national Luka Ignatius Fabris, a director of Fabris Construction and Spartan Security (Pvt) Ltd and delivered to African Gold Refinery — which focuses on gold processing and trading — in Uganda. According to sources close to the developments, the gold was delivered to Uganda by a Zambian national only referred to as Bhatti.
“About 27kg of gold worth US$1 028 048 was exported without required regulatory and authority approvals. The money for the gold was paid through Stanbic Bank in Kampala and then repatriated to Zimbabwe via a local bank where it was deposited to a local busineswoman’s company account,” the source said.
“The woman whose account was used to deposit the money is married to a prominent local businessman (name supplied) who has vast interests in different economic sectors and she is in the same industry with Fabris, but specialises in jewellery.”
Sources say the money was not deposited into Fabris Construction or Spatan Security (Pvt) Ltd, but into the busineman’s wife’s account for as yet mysterious reasons.
Upon finding out that the transaction could be suspicious, the local bank then notified the RBZ which in turn froze the account and reported the matter to the police.
According to the Zimbabwean law, Fidelity Printers is supposed to be the country’s only sole gold buyer, refiner and exporter.
Gold comes second in the country’s total mining exports, with platinum being the first.
On other exports, companies have been struggling to access export financing facilities availed through local banks by the central bank.
Fabris could not be reached for comment as his company or personal details are unavailable.