Cleopas Chidodo, the security manager of the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe, is now retracting his previous claims that former first lady Grace Mugabe engaged in smuggling diamonds and ivory for personal gain, worth millions of dollars. In an undercover documentary by Al Jazeera, Chidodo had alleged that Grace used her influence to smuggle these precious items out of the country without the knowledge of the late former president Robert Mugabe.

Initially, Chidodo disclosed how planes would be dispatched to diamond mines to handpick the finest gems, which were then flown to Dubai via Harare International Airport (now Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport). He also asserted that Grace was involved in ivory trafficking, with poachers being deployed to kill elephants, and the ivory being transported out of the country as cargo, generating significant profits.

During the Gold Mafia documentary, Chidodo stated, “She wanted to take things out, and Mugabe did not know. They would go out there and kill elephants and stuff like that. Poachers would then prepare the ivory. It would come to the airport as cargo in big containers, and if the ivory arrives and the supervisor asks, they will just say it is for the first family, and no further questions will be asked.”

He further explained, “The plane goes to diamond mines, and they select some nice diamonds to put in the plane. The plane will come from the diamond mine and go straight to Dubai, without any documentation or scrutiny. They were making money, they made a lot of money.”

However, Chidodo is now retracting these claims, suggesting a change in his position on the matter