I didn’t know bag had gold, Rushwaya insists

Henrietta Rushwaya

SUSPENDED Zimbabwe Miners Federation president Henrietta Rushwaya,  insists she did not know the bag she was carrying when she was arrested at Robert Mugabe International Airport contained gold, hence had no intention to smuggle the precious stone.
Rushwaya was arrested at the airport en-route to Dubai on October 26 and found with 6kg of gold worth US$333 000 in her bag. Making a final submission in her bail bid in a case where she faces charges of smuggling, unlawful possession of gold and bribery, Rushwaya said the whole thing was a “simple matter that had been turned political”.

“She indicated that the bag she had carried contained gold and that she had mistaken it for the one that contained her clothes, food stuffs and other personal belongings. She could not have been so naive to try and bring gold through an airport which she knows has scientific detectors,” her lawyer, Tapson Dzvetero, submitted.

“There is no allegation that she attempted to dodge the detectors. If she wanted to she ould have dodged. It is not in dispute that she had gold in her bag at the airport, what is in dispute is knowledge,” he added.

Rushwaya is not disputing possessing gold at her house as she claims she is a fullyfledged miner with several mines through her companies such as Relm Technologies and that she has a gold buying licence. She is also denying allegations that she tried to bribe security personnel at the airport as she had no money on her.

“She denies ever having offered or attempted 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 had been found with the US$5 000, the State would have seized it as it exceeds the US$2 000 required by law,” Dzvetero submitted.

It is her averment that the State is trying to connect all the accused to the case yet they have no relations in any way. She proposed that she deposits $90 000 bail and surrenders her title deeds.

Also making his closing submission was businessman Ali Mohamad, who stated that he is a proper candidate for bail with no chances of escaping as he has investments in Zimbabwe in excess of US$50 million.

He said the allegations will not stick because when the police searched his house, no gold was found. He said he is a legitimate businessman.

“Documents recovered show legitimate business between him and Fidelity showing no attempt to participate in the alleged conspiracy to smuggle the gold,” his lawyer submitted.

He proposed to deposit $100 000 bail and to report twice a week and surrender title deeds. Central Intelligence Organisation operative Steven Tserayi said the State’s claims that he was pulling Rushwaya’s bag does not mean he knew the contents in the bag and cannot be said to be in possession.

“Allegations that he was close to Rushwaya do not mean he had knowledge of what was in the bag. If it is true that he pulled the bag in question does it mean if there were undergarments inside they would be his?”

Rubaya submitted. The matter continues today before regional magistrate Ngoni Nduna.

Source – dailynews