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Rushwaya out of custody on $500 bail in $1 million fraud case

HARARE – Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) president Henrietta Rushwaya has been granted US$500 bail in the case she is accused of duping an Indian investor of over US$1 million in a botched mine deal.

Magistrate Stanford Mambanje granted her bail arguing that the National Prosecuting Authority led by Lancelot Mutsokoti failed to provide compelling reasons to deny her bail. She was remanded to the 10th of April .

The State alleged that on April 2, 2021, Rushwaya invited Ashok Jain, chairman of the NV Group of Companies headquartered in New Delhi, India, to invest in a gold mine based in Umfurudzi knowing full well that the special grant which was issued to her was expiring on May 2, 2021.

It is the State’s case that Rushwaya, who met Jain through one Asif Adil, told Jain that she could also assist him to get business opportunities in Zimbabwe majoring in the distribution of liquor, establishing a distillery and the setting up of an ethanol plant.

It is alleged that she demanded US$35,000 from Jain for her to initiate the establishment of his business in Zimbabwe.

The court heard that on October 4, 2021, Jain met Rushwaya in New Delhi where she was given the money she had demanded.

The NPA further pointed out that on another day during the same month, Rushwaya invited Jain and his son Varun Jain to Zimbabwe for a business meeting.

Prosecutor Mutsokoti said during that visit, Rushwaya allegedly informed Jain that she had a gold mine in Mashonaland Central which she could sell to him.

Rushwaya allegedly took Jain and his son to Umfurudzi in Mashonaland Central and showed them the alleged mine which she claimed was rich in gold and was on 420 hectares.

Rushwaya reportedly offered to sell the mine to Jain for US$350,000.

On December 26, 2021, Rushwaya allegedly demanded payment for the first installment of US$175,000 for the purchase of the mine through a representative identified only as Richard.

“On different dates between January 10, 2022, and May 2022, Rushwaya misrepresented to the complainant that she was preparing for mining to resume and she was paid various amounts of money totaling US$615,000 by the complainant, when in actual fact she was doing no such process,” Mutsokoti said.

“On May 12, 2022, she further demanded the second installment of US$175,000 for the purchase of the Umfurudzi gold mine and the money was deposited into Relm Mining Syndicate’s CBZ Account 26160480020 and US$3,000 was transferred into her personal CBZ Harare account,” the court heard.

Rushwaya, who is a niece to President Emmerson Mnangagwa, then allegedly presented a fraudulent geologist’s survey report concluding that Umfurudzi mine had no gold deposits as she had earlier misrepresented.

It is alleged this was done with an intention to lure the complainant to consider another offer of a different mine in Shangani.

It is through the alleged continued misrepresentation that Jain was defrauded of over US$1 million.

Rushwaya featured in the Al Jazeera’s Gold Mafia series, which exposed how Zimbabwe’s gold is looted by powerful politicians and dubious business people.

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