Henrietta wants her gold back

Henrieta Rushwaya

HARARE – Henrietta Rushwaya says she wants her day in court to clear her name and recover her US$333 000 worth of gold which is kept at Fidelity Printers and Refiners pending her trial and acquittal.

Rushwaya, who is being represented by lawyer Mr Tapson Dzvetero, also told the court that the State has a weak case against her, which is doomed to collapse at trial.

She said this in her submissions during bail application heard before Harare regional magistrate Mr Ngoni Nduna.

Rushwaya maintained that she had no intentions to smuggle the gold as alleged.

“The accused person (Rushwaya) denies all the charges. She denies she ever had an intention to smuggle gold outside the country. The accused asserted this aspect on the day of her arrest to the arresting detail, Bruno Chiketo.

“She had no knowledge that the bag she had carried contained gold and that she was of the mistaken belief that the bag contained her clothes, food stuffs and other personal belongings. She states that she could not have been naive to bring gold through an airport which she fully knows has scientific detectors.

“She could have not expected freely without having been detected especially in the manner it was not even concealed. There is no mention or allegations that the first accused refused or attempted to dodge the scientific detectors for if she wanted she could have dodged that point because that would have been the pointed where she could be detected.

“The fact that there was gold in her bag at the airport on October 26 is therefore, common cause. What is in dispute relates to her knowledge and in an offence of smuggling, possession and the State would be expected not only to prove the actus bares, but also knowledge, which is a critical element. Accused gave a plausible explanation.

“She does not dispute that at her house she had and was in possession of the gold, as she is a fully fledged miner in her own right having several mines she owns through her companies one of which is Realm Technologies which has grant No.6324 42 hectare within Mupfurudza Safari areas and in other areas. It was not disputed by the State that she has a gold buying agents permit. In respect of the smuggling matter, the State had approached the court with a full docket and not on Form 242 as could be seen from the witness who was not even aware of the status of the docket which was produced in court,” said Mr Dzvetero.

Mr Dzvetero said the State’s decision to deny her bail was based on its desire to turn the matter into a political issue.

He said that was evidenced by the evidence given by investigating officer Detective Chief Inspector Michael Chibaya when he took to the stand to oppose bail.

“He showed the court that he does not have any knowledge in respect of smuggling.

“He did not even think of reading the witness’ statement but concentrated on the aspects to do with politics. He was either feigning lack of knowledge or was not candid to the court.

“The State case is doomed to fail. It is a very weak case. State also shows lack of probity and appreciation of material aspects that relates to the case,” he said.

She also refuted offering a bribe to the Civil Aviation Authority official who spotted the gold at the airport.

“In respect of the bribery charge, she denies ever having attempted or offered to bribe anyone. No money was found on her even though she was searched, which indicates that she had no money at all.

“If she was found with US$5000, the State would have taken the money as it would have exceeded the maximum limit at law of US$2000.

“The alleged bribee, Owen Sibanda, gave a statement on the day in question.

“In his statement, he did not mention that Rushwaya tried or attempted to bribe him. The State could not even identify who made the allegations of bribery, where it was made and why it was not among charges when first charged on October 27. It is a misplaced allegation that they have overwhelming evidence when the Investigations Officer does not identify which evidence he is relying on. The State case is doomed to fail.

“It is clear that in its bid to turn a simple issue into a political issue, the State alleges some form of connivance in unconnected people who do not know each other.

“The State dismally tried to impute words and documents on Rushwaya, which she vehemently denies. It is difficult to comprehend how an IO who has not gone through witness statement in the smuggling case to attempt to rely on documents which he alleges were furnished to the same witness whose statement the IO did not go through. It is therefore, clear that the State case is doomed to fail.

“It is common cause that the gold is secured at Fidelity Printers and Refiners and it is submitted that the gold itself is in itself security to Rushwaya that when she is acquitted of the State ailing case, she is entitled to recover her value of US$333 000. This is why Rushwaya is not likely to abscond. She is a mother of two, she has dependents in excess of 50 including employees and has fixed family ties in the jurisdiction. She also has fixed and vast businesses interests as she has various mines and licenced gold buyer,” he said.

The bail application continues with Ali Mohamed, Stephen Tserayi, Raphios Mufandauya and Gift Karanda expected to make their bail application submissions. – Herald