President Emmerson Mnangagwa named Angel, one of Zimbabwe’s most powerful diplomats, a special envoy and ambassador-at-large to Europe and the Americas in 2021.
His responsibility was to attract investments to Zimbabwe’s failing economy. And if Angel is to be believed, it doesn’t matter how the money enters the nation.
He promised to use his diplomatic cover to bring enormous amounts of illegal money into Zimbabwe as part of a money-laundering scheme that also involved transporting gold to the undercover reporters for Al Jazeera. And he asserted again and time again that Mnangagwa knew about his plans. It is not a problem, he added, “I can call the president now, not tomorrow, now and put him on speaker.” The government is “us.”
Angel also claims to be a prophet at his Good News Church. He claims to be able to heal the sick and predict the results of elections and football games. There are branches of the church in 15 countries.
Mnangagwa and Angel did not respond to Al Jazeera’s request for an official statement on the investigation.
While Angel was dressed up and suave in his interactions, his deputy Doolan was more laid back. He is a musician and the pastor of Angel’s Good News Church.
Doolan told Al Jazeera’s undercover reporters on multiple occasions that he and Angel would be able to arrange a meeting with President Mnangagwa.
Doolan stated during the meetings that money laundering would be easy “as long as you grease the wheels.” Angel and Doolan proposed a scheme in which our reporters — whom they mistook for Chinese criminals — sent over a billion dollars in illicit cash to Zimbabwe via Angel. Some of that would be used to buy Zimbabwean gold, which, according to Doolan, could then be transported to Dubai and sold for legitimate money. “Is it a good washing machine?” he asked.
When told that our reporters had a large amount of unexplained cash, he replied, “Good, I like embarrassing cash.”
Doolan did not respond to Al Jazeera’s request for a formal response regarding the investigation.
Mrs. Henrietta Rushwaya is the president of Zimbabwe’s mining association and President Mnangagwa’s niece.
Rushwaya is the person Angel and Doolan contact when they want to discuss purchasing gold for their laundering scheme.
Rushwaya has previously been involved in a gold scam. She was briefly detained in 2020 while attempting to transport 6kg of gold from Zimbabwe to Dubai. The following year, a former Rushwaya driver attempted to transport gold worth more than $670,000 to Dubai.
Rushwaya’s money laundering scheme involved using dirty cash to buy Zimbabwean gold, which our reporters could then sell on the international market in exchange for legitimate money.
Because of Angel’s diplomatic status, the dirty money would be flown into Zimbabwe on Angel’s plane, which would avoid customs checks. “I’m always available, I’m here at your disposal,” she told Angel during a phone conversation about the plan.
Rushwaya did not respond to Al Jazeera’s request for a formal response regarding the investigation.