HARARE – Businessman Ali Muhamad has distanced himself from the alleged attempt by Zimbabwe Miners Federation president Henrietta Rushwaya to smuggle 6kg of gold out of the country on Monday.
Muhamad on Friday challenged his placement on remand saying he was not at the airport when Rushwaya was arrested but was at his home playing with his children. His lawyer Tinashe Robin Tanyanyiwa (Snr) told the court:
He was not at the airport and was not found with gold or any gold despite being subjected to three searches by three different teams of police officers from two different departments of the CID in a space of four days.
During the occurrence of these developments, he was at home playing with his children. If he was involved in smuggling, on the day in question when he was at home, what did he smuggle and where?
Tanyanyiwa argued that Ali was a legitimate businessman who buys and exports gold from Fidelity Printers with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe paying him through off-shore accounts.
He said Ali was only implicated in the smuggling syndicate because he is simply a director in Ali Japan, with business interests in Tokyo, Geneva and Zimbabwe.
Rushwaya was arrested at Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport with the gold haul on her way to Dubai.
Also arrested were security agents Stephen Chenjerai Tserai and Raphios Mufandauya and Gift Karanda on charges of smuggling and illegal possession of gold.
Harare magistrate Ngoni Nduna remanded Rushwaya, Ali, Tserai, Mufandauya and Karanda in custody to Monday.
Nduna is expected to make a ruling on Ali’s application to be removed from remand and the five bail applications.
Meanwhile, in another court, two police officers Douglas Shoko and Paul Chimungu were charged with criminal abuse of office stemming from the gold smuggling attempt.
Deputy Chief Magistrate Bianca Makwande also remanded the two in custody to Monday for bail application.
More: The Herald