Rushwaya convicted, in remand prison pending sentence

Zimbabwe Miners Federation president Henrietta Rushwaya

ZIMBABWE Miners Federation president Henrietta Rushwaya was sent to remand prison yesterday after the Anti-Corruption Court at the High Court in Harare turned down her request to remain on bail pending sentence following her conviction on charges of attempting to smuggle 6kg of gold worth more than US$333 000 to Dubai three years ago.

She will be sentenced on November 10. Rushwaya was heading to Dubai when she was arrested for attempting to smuggle gold through the VIP route at Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport on October 26, 2020.

Two bars of pure gold were found in her hand luggage. Rushwaya pleaded not guilty when her trial began last month at the Anti-Corruption Court.

The prosecution case was built on the evidence that Rushwaya was caught with the gold in her bag as she was leaving the country. Further, she failed to provide a valid export permit and presented a fake invoice and packing list from a company called Ali Japan 786 (Pvt) Limited, at the time of her arrest.

Rushwaya denied the charge, claiming she mistakenly picked up the wrong bag, one containing gold bars rather than the one she meant to take on her trip.

Justice Pisirayi Kwenda, who presided over the trial with two assessors, found Rushwaya guilty, dismissing her defence of a “wrong bag” as implausible. Rushwaya was charged along with two Central Intelligence Organisation operatives Stephen Tserai and Raphios Mufandauya.

These two were found not guilty at the close of the prosecution case, for lack of evidence that they had committed a smuggling offence. This left Rushwaya being put on her defence, after the court ruled she did have a case to answer. Now the judge must work out the sentence after taking into account evidence presented in aggravation and mitigation.


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