Zimbabwe Ambassador Angel Involved in Gold Smuggling: Who is She?


A documentary by Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit (I-Unit) has been exposing the illicit gold trade in Southern Africa and money laundering involving powerful figures in the region, including Auxilia Mnangagwa, the wife of the Zimbabwean president. The four-episode documentary revealed that several individuals have taken advantage of Western sanctions targeting government and ruling party officials to smuggle large quantities of gold and launder millions of dollars through a complex web of companies and bribes. One of the controversial characters at the centre of the documentary is Uebert Angel, Zimbabwe’s Ambassador At Large.

Uebert Angel, whose real name is Uebert Mudzanire, is a self-styled Zimbabwean “prophet”, preacher and entrepreneur based in the United Kingdom. The 44-year-old is the founder of Spirit Embassy, a church with branches in several countries including the United Kingdom, South Africa and Zimbabwe. He is known for preaching that God wants his followers to be wealthy and for promoting doctrines referred to as prosperity gospel, which assert that financial and material gain are the divine will of God for all pious Christians.

In 2012, Angel shot to fame for performing a series of controversial miracles including creating what he dubbed “miracle money”. He claimed he had prophetic powers to produce valuable commodities such as gold, diamonds and money that could mysteriously find its way into people’s pockets and bank accounts as well as a bank vault. The sermon was so popular that he ended up travelling across Africa performing for believers and promising them miracle money.

Angel, who claims to have two university degrees in finance, is also an author and has written several books on faith and prosperity. He also runs satellite-broadcasting channels, Miracle TV, GoodNews TV and Wow TV, which broadcast his crusades and sermons. He runs his church as a business. Under the Millionaire Academy, Angel teaches the fundamental aspects of becoming a millionaire and targets business owners who want to develop their company “into something greater than themselves in his church and beyond”.

In 2014, he was accused of fraud and money laundering by a former member of his church in the UK. He has also been criticised for his lavish lifestyle, which includes luxury cars, private jets and expensive homes. In one of several documented cases of sexual misconduct, Angel was accused of asking a female congregant to send him nude pictures of herself on Twitter and WhatsApp.

In March 2021, he was appointed ambassador at large and a presidential envoy by Mnangagwa. It was in this capacity that he told Al Jazeera that he could facilitate a scheme for exchanging unaccounted-for cash for Zimbabwe’s gold. Zimbabwe’s Ambassador At Large Uebert Angel offered to use his diplomatic status to launder millions of dollars through a gold smuggling scheme, for undercover reporters posing as Asian criminals. He claimed that his laundering operations had the approval of President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who has been in power since November 2017.

The revelations have sparked outrage among Zimbabweans, who are already grappling with economic hardships, corruption and political instability. The opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change Alliance (MDC-A), has called for Angel’s immediate dismissal as ambassador, saying his actions have brought the country into disrepute.

The Zimbabwean government has not yet commented on the allegations against Angel. However, the country’s anti-corruption commission has launched an investigation into the allegations of gold smuggling and money laundering exposed in the Al Jazeera documentary.

The revelations have also raised questions about the role of diplomats in facilitating illicit activities and the need for stronger measures to combat money laundering and corruption in Southern Africa. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) estimates that the amount of money laundered globally in one year is between 2% and 5% of global GDP, or $800 billion to $2 trillion in current US dollars.

The UNODC has called for stronger international cooperation to combat money laundering and corruption, including the implementation of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), which provides a comprehensive framework for preventing, detecting and punishing corruption. The UNCAC has been ratified by 187 countries, including Zimbabwe and the United Kingdom.

The revelations about Uebert Angel and the illicit gold trade in Southern Africa have highlighted the need for greater transparency and accountability in the region. It remains to be seen whether the Zimbabwean government will take action against Angel and other individuals implicated in the Al Jazeera documentary, or whether the revelations will lead to broader reforms to combat corruption and money laundering in Southern Africa.