Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front senator Monica Mutsvangwa signed the US$3.4 million “Consulting Agreement” with Chicago man, Prince Asiel Ben Israel, on 26 November 2008 and made the first transfer according the affidavit that establishes the case against Ben Israel and C. Gregory Turner also of Chicago.
The two were charged with conspiring to act as agents for the Zimbabwean government and conspiring to lobby for the lifting of sanctions against designated Zimbabweans including President Robert Mugabe and former Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono.
Ben Israel pleaded guilty and was sentenced to seven months in jail last month. Reports say he will only report to prison in November.
Turner pleaded not guilty. His trial starts tomorrow.
The affidavit by Steven Noldin, a special agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigations, does not mention Mutsvangwa by name, but describes her as Zimbabwe Official B, the spouse of Zimbabwe Official A and a Zimbabwean senator affiliated with ZANU-PF.
Zimbabwe Official A, according to the Affidavit, was Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to China.
Christopher Mutsvangwa is Zimbabwe’s former ambassador to China and his wife Monica was, and still is, a senator.
According to the agreement, Ben Israel was to be paid:
$90,000 at the signing of the contract;
$1 105 000 upon completion of the “Zimbabwe meeting” (with US senators and representatives)
$1 105 000 “upon completion of the South Africa meeting”; and
$1,105,000 “upon completion of” the project.
Mutsvangwa wired Ben Israel US$89 970 on 5 December 2008 but the money was intercepted by his bank after he failed to give a satisfactory explanation of what it was for.
Turner’s trial is expected to open a can of worms especially corruption by Chicago politicians who were allegedly close to United States President Barack Obama.
The scheme was mooted after Obama won the United States presidency and his colleagues from Chicago believed that they could persuade him to lift sanctions on Zimbabwe.
Obama has refused to budge over the past six years.
Turner wanted to depose Mugabe and Mutsvangwa to testify for him but Judge Elaine Bucklo ruled against the deposition arguing that Turner had not convinced her that the two were willing to testify.
Monica Mutsvangwa was mentioned by name in Bucklo’s judgment.