SUSPENDED Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) president Henrietta Rushwaya and her three alleged accomplices in the gold smuggling case were yesterday denied bail by Harare magistrate Ngoni Nduna who remanded the matter to November 27.
BY MIRIAM MANGWAYA
Their Pakistani accomplice, Ali Muhammad, who was said to be the owner of the 6kg of gold intercepted at the Robert Mugabe International Airport a fortnight ago, was however released on $100 000 bail.
Nduna ruled that there were no compelling reasons to deny Muhammad bail since he was not mentioned as having attempted to obstruct the course of justice.
Rushwaya, two Central Intelligence Organisation operatives Stephen Tserayi and Raphinos Mufandauya and her ZMF colleague Gift Karanda were denied bail on the basis that they were likely to abscond trial as they had connections abroad and means to flee the country. The five are being jointly charged for smuggling, illegal possession of gold, criminal abuse of office and defeating the course of justice.
The court also heard that Tserayi had allegedly orchestrated the switching off of the CCTV at the airport to facilitate Rushwaya’s passage while Karanda allegedly threatened the arresting officers by claiming to be connected to the First Family.
Nduna said Rushwaya was the principal suspect in the case, since she was the one found in possession of the gold she allegedly wanted to smuggle to Dubai. In her bail application, Rushwaya however denied attempting to smuggle the 6kg gold saying she had taken the wrong travel bag unknowingly.
She told the court that she was confident of her acquittal in the case and would claim her gold back.
Nduna also said that Tserai, Mufandauya and Karanda were closely linked to Rushwaya. But Mufandauya denied the allegations saying he only got to know Rushwaya on the day of her arrest.
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