The State has finished presenting all the evidence and witnesses in support of its argument that Zimbabwe Mining Federation president, Henrietta Rushwaya attempted to smuggle gold out of Zimbabwe in October 2020.
Rushwaya was officially accused of committing the alleged crime earlier this year (2023), and her virtual trial began last week, NewsDay reported.
She was accused of trying to smuggle 6kg of gold worth US$333,042.28 out of Zimbabwe. Last year, she was acquitted in a bribery case related to the same smuggling allegations. Rushwaya defended herself by claiming that she mistakenly picked up a bag containing gold instead of her own.
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) of Zimbabwe stated that Rushwaya’s trial at the Anti-Corruption Court in the High Court took place from September 18 to 22 as scheduled. The State alleges that Rushwaya failed to provide a valid export permit and presented a fake invoice and packing list from a company called Ali Japan 786 (Pvt) Limited.
The charges against two other suspects, Stephen Chenjerai Tserayi and Raphios Mufandauya, who were initially arrested with Rushwaya, were withdrawn by the State. Rushwaya is expected to file an application for discharge at the close of the State’s case. If the application is dismissed, she will proceed with her defence and may call witnesses to testify in her favour.
Some Context: Henrietta Rushwaya was arrested at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport on October 26, 2020, while attempting to board a flight to Dubai. She was found in possession of a handbag containing 6kg of gold valued at approximately US$333,000. Rushwaya claimed that she had mistakenly taken the wrong handbag, as she owned identical ones. Her lawyer, Peter Patisani, argued that it would be illogical for her to knowingly pass a bag with gold through an X-ray machine. He labelled the arrest as malicious and stated that Rushwaya had offered to retrieve the correct bag from her home in the presence of Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe officials, but they declined.