Opinion and AnalysisAfricaCurrent AffairsNewsPolitics

Who Really Are The Gold Mafia? Godmen, Conmen And A President’s Niece

Gangs that smuggle gold and launder money, that is what the Gold Mafia investigation is about. But who are they exactly? By Al Jazeera Investigative Unit They are rival gangs — with many different characters. From new-age pastors to old-school smugglers, and from diplomats to the Zimbabwean president’s niece, Al Jazeera’s latest investigation, Gold Mafia, has uncovered a band of criminals driving gold smuggling and money laundering worth billions of dollars in Southern Africa. These are some of the key individuals running the mafia. Kamlesh Pattni aka ‘Brother Paul’ The Kenyan-born Pattni knows better than anyone how to smuggle gold worth millions of dollars — and get away with it. In the 1990s, his firm Goldenberg International was at the centre of a giant scandal that robbed Kenya of $600mn — 10 percent of its GDP. Then President Daniel Arap Moi had allowed Pattni to export Kenyan gold at a time when the East African country was facing a Western aid embargo. Instead, Pattni allegedly used his license to smuggle Congolese gold through Kenya.

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