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'Rushwaya syndicate' in court

by Staff reporter
01 Nov 2020 at 08:25hrs | Views
THE alleged gold smuggling syndicate made up of Zimbabwe Miners Federation president Henrietta Rushwaya, intelligence officers and businessman Ali Mohamad, yesterday appeared in court jointly on allegations of smuggling and unlawful possession of 6kg of the precious mineral.

Mohamad; two central intelligence organisation operatives Steven Tserayi and Raphios Mufandauya; and Gift Karanda joined Rushwaya in court and were remanded in custody to Monday by regional magistrate Ngoni Nduna.

Rushwaya was initially charged with smuggling after she was arrested at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport on Monday but was yesterday slapped with new charges of unlawful possession of gold and bribery. She allegedly offered money to the officers who discovered the gold at the airport.

The State initially consented to her being granted bail before withdrawing it after fresh incriminating information.

Represented by Tapson Dzvetero, Rushwaya opposed the consent withdrawal by the State, arguing it was approaching the court with dirty hands.

Yesterday, the magistrate granted the withdrawal by the State and the matter will proceed for bail hearing on Monday.

Businessman Mohamad was quick to challenge his placement on remand on the charge of smuggling, arguing that he was never at the airport nor was he found with the gold.

Through his lawyer, Tinashe Tanyanyiwa Snr, he argued that he is a legitimate businessman who deals in gold with Fidelity Printers and Refineries. He said there was no need for him to be involved in smuggling gold.

The State led by Garudzo Ziyaduma and Charles Muchemwa said Rushwaya was found with documents similar to those which were found in Mohamad's office.

Ruling on the matter will be delivered on Monday.

Mohamed and Rushwaya have indicated that they will be challenging placement on remand in respect of allegations of unlawful possession of gold.

It is the State's case that Mohamad hatched a plan with Rushwaya to smuggle the gold together with Tserayi, Mufandauya and Karanda without acquiring a licence.

Allegations are that Mohamad generated a commercial invoice purporting Rushwaya had entered an agreement with Ali Japan, a company based in Dubai that deals in gold.

He is alleged to have given the gold to Rushwaya who then engaged Tserayi, an intelligence operative, to transport her to the airport using his official vehicle.

It is alleged that while at the airport, Rushwaya and Tserayi engaged Mufandauya, an intelligence operative based at the airport.

Allegations are that for easy passage and without detection, Tserayi took Rushwaya's luggage as his and Mufandauya used his airport pass to assist the three in evading security checkpoints as if he was escorting a very important person (VIP).

The court heard that the trio passed through the diplomatic bay, evading all security protocols which makes VIPs immune to searches.

Mufandauya allegedly took Rushwaya's passport and gave it to immigration officials for clearance to leave the country.

The three were intercepted by a Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe scanner that detected the gold, leading to Rushwaya's arrest, the court heard.

It is alleged that the gold was in Rushwaya's bag which was being carried by Tserayi.

Tserayi was represented by Admire Rubaya and Mufandauya by Joshua Chirambwe. They are also facing another charge of criminal abuse of duty, while Karanda, represented by Dumisani Mtombeni,  is facing another charge of obstructing the course of justice.

In another matter, two senior police officers, superintendent Douglas Shoko and detective chief inspector Paul Chimungu were nabbed on allegations of altering a charge sheet implicating Mohamad after the arrest of Rushwaya at the airport.

The two represented by Oliver Marwa and Brighton Pabwe are charged with criminal abuse of office and were remanded in custody to Monday for the continuation of their bail application before Harare regional Bianca Makwande.

Source - dailynews