By Bustop TV
Prominent local human rights defender Janet Zhou has urged the government to instead focus on curbing gold smuggling which negatively affects the country’s investment prospects, rather than amending the PVO Act.
According to the International Crisis Group over $1.5 billion of gold is smuggled out of the country every year depriving Zimbabwe of much needed revenue.
Findings from a 2021 study conducted by the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime (GI-TOC) on ‘Illicit Gold Markets in East and Southern Africa’ further revealed that foreign nationals in Zimbabwe particularly the Chinese had become influential players in smuggling the mineral.
Zhou who is the director of the Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD) a socio-economic justice movement which facilitates citizens involvement in public policies stated that gold smuggling increased the country’s ‘risk profile’ and this had to be dealt with instead of enacting the PVO bill.
When a country’s risk profile is high, doing business in it is extremely difficult and this in turn drives away potential investors.
She wrote: “On the PVO Bill proposed to ostensibly address the money laundering and terrorism, I think the government of Zimbabwe must focus on plugging gold smuggling, it raises the risk profile of the country and the impacts on investment are huge”.
This comes after government said the proposed PVO Amendment Bill will combat money laundering and financing of terrorism.
However no NGO or CSO had been listed as a money launderer by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and as such the bill has been interpreted as a manipulation of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recommendations.
FATF is a non-treaty inter-governmental body tasked with the promotion of measures to help combat money laundering and terrorist financing. As a member of the East and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group (ESAAMLG), Zimbabwe is expected to comply with FATF recommendations and standards.
This article was produced with financial support of the Content Creators Network ZW.