Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) president, Henrietta Rushwaya has escaped jail after she was fined and given a wholly suspended sentence following her conviction for attempting to smuggle gold worth US$330 000 to Dubai.
High Court judge, Justice Pisirayi Kwenda fined her US$5 000 and gave a wholly suspended 18 months jail term.
In addition, the gold weighing 6kgs, she was caught trying to smuggle was forfeited by the State.
Giving his reasons, Kwenda said sentencing must be purposeful.
“We are dealing with the interest of justice. We look at the interest of society and the gravity of the crime committed.
“Society has interest in the sentence because they expect those who commit crimes to be punished… If that person returns a hardened criminal, society does not benefit,” said the judge.
He then took into account that Rushwaya has no previous convictions.
“We are satisfied that this offence was planned. There is no evidence to show that this offence was committed as part of an organised crime.”
He said in keeping with the sentencing guidelines and the age of principal that in fiscal offences, the function of a sentence should not be to remove a productive member of society.
“We are of the view that a non custodial sentence of a fine will be appropriate.
“She is a first offender and is recognised at law to be entitled to leniency. We are also giving weight to the fact that she is in trouble for a smuggling which did not succeed.
“She must be regretting the day she tried to smuggle.”
The judge then fined her US$5 000.
“The gold is hereby forfeited to the State in terms of Section 62(1)(a ) of the Criminal procedure,” he concluded.