Zimbabwe: ‘Gold Smuggler’ Henrietta Rushwaya Set to Get Off the Hook, As Her Aide Found With 23 Gold Bars in Whisky Box At SA Airport Fined R40k

Zimbabwe Miners Federation President Henrietta president Henrietta Rushwaya who was arrested in October 2020 for allegedly trying to smuggle gold out of the country appears set to be acquitted due to lack of evidence while her former aide and driver Tashinga Nyasha Masinire has been sentenced to a fine of R40,000 or two years imprisonment after being found with 23 gold bars concealed in a box of whisky at OR Tambo International Airport in May 2021.

Rushwaya, a well-connected Zanu PF member and also President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s niece, was arrested at Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport in Harare in October 2020 attempting to smuggle 6,09kg of gold worth US$330 000 to Dubai.

While her case is still pending at the Zimbabwean courts, a National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) top official Tawanda Zvekare has made startling claims Zimbabwe’s prosecuting arm of the judiciary does not have enough evidence to secure a conviction against Rushwaya.

Zvekare, who is NPA Chief Public Prosecutor Special Projects made the revelations at a recent launch of the 2022 Transparency International Corruption Perception Index (CPI) report, which ranked Zimbabwe number 157 out of 180 surveyed countries, making Zimbabwe one of the most corrupt countries in the world.

“For the serious cases which you were talking about, that’s Henrietta Rushwaya case, the Prisca Mupfumira case and like cases, I would want to say that the threshold for proving a criminal case is proof beyond reasonable doubt, which is a high threshold,” Zvekare said.

“It may not be discharged easily,” he said.

He blamed Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) investigators for failing to properly investigate cases before passing them on to the NPA for prosecution in the courts.

“As NPA, we depend on the investigators, that is the police, that is ZACC,” he said.

“If they give us a good docket, with enough evidence, we will not fail you. We will do our bit.

“But at times we are not given good cases to prosecute, so to speak by the investigators and we would be compromised in the discharge of our mandate as prosecutors.

“This is why some cases, which may be obvious to you, that this is an obvious conviction, may not be necessarily so because of various factors.

Rushwaya is one of the gold dealers with links to Zimbabwe’s ruling elite who were recently recorded by undercover investigative journalists from Qatar-based television network Al Jazeera where they promised to help criminal networks to launder money.

Tashinga Nyasha Masinire

While Rushwaya could be set to get off the hook, according to the South African publication TimesLive, her former driver and aide Masinire has been sentenced to a fine of R40,000 or two years’ imprisonment after being found with 23 gold bars concealed in a box of whisky at OR Tambo International Airport.

Masinire was arrested by members of the Hawks’ serious organised crime investigation unit, with the assistance of customs officials, after he landed in SA from neighbouring Zimbabwe in May 2021.

According to Hawks Gauteng spokesperson Capt Lloyd Ramovha, Masinire’s arrest came after he was subjected to a random search which uncovered the loot.

“He … consequently appeared in the Kempton Park magistrate’s court where he was granted R100,000 bail. During the Hawks’ follow-up investigation, it emerged that Masinire submitted representations with fabricated information in a bid to have the case withdrawn.

“After he realised that the case presented by investigators had no loopholes, he elected to plead guilty on February 23.”

Ramovha said his bail was revoked and on Monday the court convicted Masinire for contravening the Customs and Excise Act.

The gold bars have been forfeited to the South African state.


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