Zimbabwe

Ex-US rep vows to expose Zim illegal gem deals

2014-03-05 11:43
Former US Congressman Mel Reynolds enters a prison truck while handcuffed following his court appearance at the magistrate’s courts in Harare, Zimbabwe in February. (Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi, AP)

Former US Congressman Mel Reynolds enters a prison truck while handcuffed following his court appearance at the magistrate’s courts in Harare, Zimbabwe in February. (Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Special Report

Zim cops quiz minister over detained editor
Zim cops quiz minister over detained editor

Police in Zimbabwe have taken the unusual step of summoning the country’s information minister for questioning in the case of a state newspaper editor charged with subversion.

Johannesburg - Former US congressman Mel Reynolds said on Tuesday he is in hiding in South Africa after being deported from Zimbabwe because he fears for his life for threatening to expose allegedly illegal business dealings between American businessmen and the southern African country.

Zimbabwe's Deputy Minister of Information Supa Mandiwanzira dismissed the claims as untrue and "capricious".

Reynolds, who lost his Illinois congressional seat in 1995 after being convicted of statutory rape, was arrested in Zimbabwe's capital, Harare, on 16 February and pleaded guilty to charges of violating the country's immigration laws. After a few days in prison, he was fined and deported. The court dismissed charges of possessing pornography on a technicality.

Reynolds had gained prominence in Zimbabwe for reportedly attracting investment for the $145m construction of a Hilton Hotel and office complex in Harare, according to The Herald, the government-run newspaper in Zimbabwe. It said construction is expected to begin in April.

The ex-Illinois congressman said he has visited Zimbabwe 17 times in the past four years and accused the Mugabe regime of "trumping up" pornography charges to discredit him.

The US currently has sanctions preventing President Robert Mugabe and top members of his government from travelling to or having financial holdings in the US.

“Blood diamonds"

Reynolds told The Associated Press by telephone that he believes he is being pursued by a secret Zimbabwean death squad because he said he threatened to disclose information on US businessmen, especially from Chicago, who are doing business illegally with Zimbabwe, involving "blood diamonds". He said he also has information on money laundering by Zimbabwe's government.

He did not give more details but said he planned to hold a press conference in South Africa in the next few days before returning to Chicago where he would reveal details, including names, to support his claims, which AP could not verify.

Mandiwanzira told AP by telephone from Harare, Zimbabwe: "If the Zimbabwean government had anything to hide, we would have kept him [Reynolds] here. The fact that we did not should indicate to anyone that the claims are not true. The fact of the matter is that he was found to be in the country illegally. He had overstayed his visa and so he was deported."

Reynolds said he had been subjected to "horrendous" conditions in jail in Zimbabwe.

"There was no running water and no working toilets and the stench was beyond your imagination," he said. "About 60 people dressed in rags slept on concrete floors and we were only given one meal a day. The food was so bad that I ate only one meal on the Tuesday and didn't eat again until I got out on the Sunday."

He said that while in custody his big toe had almost been severed when he was attacked from behind in the dark by inmates and pushed into a toilet. He said he was denied medical treatment, and believes the prison guards encouraged the inmates to attack him. When he arrived in South Africa he said he was treated in a hospital for a severe toe infection.

- AP

Read more on:    robert mugabe  |  mel reynolds  |  us  |  zimbabwe  |  blood diamonds  |  southern africa
NEXT ON NEWS24X

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
11 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Fashion
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Friday Cape Town - 18:07 PM
    Road name: N2 Outbound
    DELAYS through Borcherds Quarry Road exit
  • Friday Table View - 18:05 PM
    Road name: Marine Drive Northbound
    DELAYS between Sunset Beach and Blaauwberg Road
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2 TV Series for R250

Get 2 TV Series box sets for R250 and save up to R148! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing deals on beauty & fragrances

Save up to 30% off beauty and fragrances. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 50% off hair care products!

Save up to 50% on professional hair care products at kalahari.com. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off academic books

Score a mind blowing 30% off academic books! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing deals on electronics!

Save up to 35% on electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Huawei B683 21Mbps 3G Wireless Router

Huawei B683 21Mbps 3G Wireless Router The B683 wireless gateway (hereinafter...

From R1799.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be putting too much effort into someone or something. You are doing it out of love and compassion but there is a chance...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.