Henrietta Rushwaya has been arrested by Zimbabwe police who is the boss of the Zimbabwe Miners Federation and formerly the CEO of the football association, for smuggling six kilogrammes of gold out of the country. The 53-year old was arrested at the Robert Mugabe International Airport after scanners discovered the mineral in her hand luggage. Police confirmed her arrest.
“The ZRP confirms the arrest of Henrietta Rushwaya at RGM International Airport this afternoon after scanners at the airport checkpoint indicated that there was something in her hand luggage,” police said in a statement.
The police charge sheet says there was a tip-off about Rushwaya’s intention to smuggle gold to Dubai and her movements were being monitored by detectives. Her bags were scanned and purified gold was found.
The Zimbabwe Miners Federation is an association of small-scale miners, also known as artisanal miners or “zama zamas”. The artisanal miners account for 60% of gold deliveries to the state, but they are also accused of smuggling gold to Dubai.
Several people, including some members of the Central Intelligence Organization, are being investigated following police’s seizure of over six kilograms of gold stashed in the hand luggage of Rushwaya.
When he came into office, President Emmerson Mnangagwa vowed to tackle corruption but his administration has been accused of shielding the real culprits while using less powerful people as scapegoats.
Public prosecutor Darudzo Ziyaduma told the court Thursday: “This is an organized plan to commit crime in the manner in which the execution of the offence was carried out. When the accused person approached the exit point, the closed circuit television (CCTV) that mans that area were switched off and her clearance took four minutes from the time she arrived at the airport. The net of the syndicate is actually wider hence upon taking note of that, we have enlarged the scope of the investigation and we expect more suspects to be brought to court tomorrow.”
He is also quoted as saying Rushwaya allegedly tried to bribe detectives investigating the case.
“There is also evidence that was availed to the effect that the accused tried to bribe two officers who had discovered the offence. The net is wider than earlier thought. Hence the decision to withdraw the consent. Additionally, the source where the gold was obtained and its intended destinations are now part of investigations.”
Harare magistrates remanded Rushwaya in custody to October 30 despite agreed bail conditions.
The 6,09 kilograms of gold seized at the airport is worth US$360,000 (R5.9million). Zimbabweis losing at least US$100 million worth of goldevery month, which is being smuggledout of the country through porous borders.