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Rushwaya on the rack

by Staff reporter
29 Oct 2020 at 21:07hrs | Views
THE court yesterday heard that the controversial president of the Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF), Henrietta Rushwaya, was part of a wider smuggling syndicate that allegedly involved intelligence operatives.

Giving reasons for the withdrawal of its consent to grant Rushwaya bail, the State also revealed how closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras at Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport were allegedly switched off to allow her swift access to clearance formalities.

Rushwaya, 53, was said to have arrived at the airport and passed through passport control within four minutes.

This follows her arrest on Monday after she was found in possession of 6kg of gold.

She was, at the time, set to fly to Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, when airport security scanners flagged her hand luggage, where the gold worth nearly US$400 000, was said to be concealed.

Yesterday, prosecutor Garudzo Ziyaduma said the evidence that the State allegedly had showed that the former ZMF boss was part of an organised crime syndicate.

As a result, Ziyaduma argued, Rushwaya must not be granted bail.

"This is a classic example of organised crime in the manner in which the execution of the offence was carried out.

"CCTVs at the area were switched off and her clearance took four minutes from her arrival at the airport to where her passport was stamped.

"The syndicate is wider. We have enlarged the scope of the investigation and we expect other accused persons to be brought to court on similar charges tomorrow (today)," Ziyaduma said.

The State also alleged that Rushwaya attempted to bribe two officers who discovered the offence.

"There is also evidence that the accused attempted to bribe two officers who had discovered the offence.

"There are also other personnel who helped her in the gold smuggling, a member of the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) and another masquerading as a CIO (member).

"The source of the gold and intended destination is now part of the investigation," Ziyaduma also submitted.

When Rushwaya first appeared in court on Tuesday, the State indicated that it was not opposing bail and proposed several conditions — including a deposit of $90 000 and the surrendering of title deeds and her passport.

Presiding magistrate Ngoni Nduna ordered the State to give reasons why it had consented to bail, before it withdrew its consent yesterday.

Rushwaya's lawyer, Tapson Dzvetero, yesterday challenged the withdrawal of consent — arguing that the State's approach was scandalising the office of the Prosecutor-General and had interference written all over.

He also said the matter before the court was for the State to give reasons why they had consented to bail, and not for them to make a new application.

"It cannot be accepted that the State is asked by the court to justify why they were consenting and then they say we are now withdrawing.

"The consent was signed by an officer in the Prosecutor-General's office … and there is no affidavit by the officials on why they were consenting.

"It shows that there is interference with due process," the lawyer said further.

Source - dailynews