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Henrietta Rushwaya convicted for 6Kg gold smuggling

ZIMBABWE Miners Federation (ZMF) president Henrietta Rushwaya has been convicted for trying to smuggle 6kg of gold out of Zimbabwe through Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport in 2020.

High Court judge Justice Pisirayi Kwenda yesterday convicted Rushwaya (56) and remanded her in custody to November 10, 2023 for sentencing.

Rushwaya was accused of trying to smuggle 6kg of gold worth US$333 042,28 out of Zimbabwe on October 20, 2020.

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The ZMF president was indicted to the High Court for trial early this year.

Her accomplices, two Central Intelligence Organisation operatives Stephen Tserai and Raphios Mufandauya, were acquitted of the charges for lack of evidence at the close of the State case.

Rushwaya, however, denied the charges claiming that she mistakenly picked the bag containing the gold as she rushed to the airport.

On October 26, 2020, Rushwaya went through the VIP route at RGM International Airport evading police checkpoints.

When she went through an X-Ray monitoring machine, a suspicious object was identified in her luggage, leading to a physical search by a Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe security officer.

The search yielded four gold bars and Rushwaya failed to produce an export permit and produced a commercial invoice and a packing list on behalf of Ali Japan 786 (Pvt) Ltd authorising her to transport the gold.

The State successfully argued that it was unlawful to export gold using such documents.

According to the law, Fidelity Printers and Refiners (Pvt) Ltd is the sole authorised gold exporter in Zimbabwe, while an individual requires a gold dealership licence.

Gold exports are accompanied by a bill of export, Fidelity Printers and Refiners commercial invoice, packing list from Fidelity, CD1 Form and a Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe authorisation letter.

Fidelity is also responsible for the movement of gold consignments to the airport and handover of the package to the courier on the airside.

Individuals and companies cannot physically process the gold or gold packages before entering the airside.

Rushwaya was acquitted last year in a bribery case linked to the smuggling allegations.

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