Al Jazeera’s investigative team caught up with Alistair Mathias, a gold trader with expertise in designing money laundering schemes. He claims that this skill has given him access to heads of states across the continent.
In the final episode of Al Jazeera’s undercover investigation into Mathias’ gold smuggling and money-laundering activities across Africa, he boastfully claimed to have relationships with various presidents on the continent including President Akufo-Addo. He described Ghana’s President as a good friend and alleged that the President was his lawyer.
Some members of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) latched on to these claims and raised various accusations against the President. However, the claims were denied by legal counsel to the President, Kow Essuman who revealed that President Akufo-Addo had not been in private practice as a lawyer since 2000 and his legal chambers has not in any way acted as lawyers to Alistair nor any of his associates.
In response to a letter from Ghana’s Presidency, Al Jazeera said: “We have responded to the letter from the president of the Republic of Ghana, correcting some parts of its content and clarifying various points. Prior to the publication of Gold Mafia, we wrote to the president outlining the claims made by Alistair Mathias. The president’s response appears near the end of the documentary.” Portions of the letter to Al Jazeera dated 25th April 2023 said: “The documentary in question made baseless claims that the President acted as a lawyer for one Mr Alistair Mathias and implied that the president personally benefited unlawfully from an alleged $100million state infrastructure contract purportedly awarded to Mr Mathias.”
It is important to note that money laundering is a serious crime that involves disguising illegal proceeds as legitimate funds. It is often used by criminals and corrupt officials to hide their ill-gotten gains from law enforcement agencies. Al Jazeera’s Gold Mafia documentary series exposes how gold smuggling and money laundering are used by criminal networks across Africa. The series highlights how these activities are facilitated by corrupt officials who are willing to turn a blind eye in exchange for bribes or other forms of compensation.