Cleopas Chidodo, the security manager of the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ), who appeared in Al Jazeera’s Gold Mafia documentary, is retracting the allegations he made about former First Lady, Grace Mugabe.
The Explosive Allegations
During the documentary, Chidodo revealed to Al Jazeera’s undercover journalists how Grace Mugabe allegedly used her influential status to smuggle diamonds and ivory out of Zimbabwe without her late husband’s knowledge. He disclosed that planes were dispatched to mines to pick the finest gems, which were then flown to Dubai through the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport. Chidodo also claimed that Grace Mugabe was complicit in ivory smuggling, as she had poachers on her payroll who slaughtered elephants for their tusks. The tusks were then shipped out of the country as cargo, earning millions of dollars in profit.
Cleopas Chidodo Apologises To Grace Mugabe
In a video recording seen by this publication, Chidodo apologized to Grace Mugabe and the former first family for the false statements he made in the Gold Mafia documentary. He said that the allegations he made against the Mugabes were untrue and retracted them in full.
“I wish to render my unconditional apologies to Dr Grace Mugabe and the entire former first family for the falsehoods I mentioned about them in the said episode,” Cleopas Chidodo says in the opening minutes of the video.
Later in the video, he goes on to retract all the allegations he made against Grace Mugabe, stating that they were untrue and that he was coerced into making them.
“I wish the general public to know that it is untrue that Dr Grace Mugabe did the various illegal things that I mentioned in the video. Specifically, it is untrue that Dr Grace Mugabe killed elephants for ivory. It is untrue that Dr Grace Mugabe smuggled said ivory in hoards of containers through Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport. It is untrue that Dr Grace Mugabe would send a plane to Chiadzwa mining fields to collect diamonds and smuggle them outside of Zimbabwe. It is untrue that Dr Grace Mugabe devised a scheme to smuggle minerals and ivory behind the late former President Robert Mugabe’s back. It is untrue that the former first family made a lot of money smuggling minerals outside the country,” he added.
CAAZ Security Manager Claims He Was Drugged By Al Jazeera
Chidodo also revealed in the video that he did not willingly provide information to Al Jazeera but was tricked into doing so by the broadcaster. He said that the individuals who secretly recorded him had approached him with the intention of offering his family scholarships to study abroad, but the subject changed during the meeting. They revealed that they intended to smuggle minerals out of Zimbabwe.
“I wish to clarify that I never willingly presented myself to provide any information to Al Jazeera news network. The individuals who secretly recorded me had actually approached me intending to offer my family scholarships to study abroad. It was in this meeting that the subject changed, and they revealed to my shock that they actually intended on smuggling minerals out of Zimbabwe,” he said.
Chidodo also claimed that he was drugged during the recording of the video, which rendered his mental faculties useless, and he was coerced into making statements against Grace Mugabe and her family.
“I wish to state that the time of the meeting and indeed the recordings, my mental faculties had been manipulated by what I assume to be drinks spiked by a substance to the extent that I do not even recall saying the said statements, even though I acknowledge that the video shows me to do so,” he added.