Gold smuggling case sucks in Harare lawyer, magistrate, prosecutor

HARARE lawyer, Admire Rubaya, together with Plumtree magistrate Timeon Twengwa and prosecutor Stanely Chinyanganya were recently charged for allegedly defeating the course of justice after they acquitted a suspect linked to a 14,71kg gold-smuggling syndicate.

BY CHARLES LAITON

The trio on Saturday appeared before magistrate Elijah Makomo from Harare, who had been specifically deployed to Bulawayo to handle the matter.

They were, however, released on $500 and $300 bail, respectively.

Allegations against Rubaya were that sometime between July 23 and August 10 this year, he represented Jefat Chaganda, charged with unlawful possession of 14,71kg of gold and smuggling that was being tried at the Plumtree Magistrates’ Court.

The State alleges Rubaya then enlisted the services of a registered mine owner, Lovemore Sibanda of Qalo Mine to claim ownership of the gold.

As a result of the alleged misrepresentation, Chaganda was acquitted and the gold was released to Sibanda at the close of the State case.

The State further alleges the gold was then sold at Fidelity Printers in Bulawayo for $358 000 of which $161 000 was deposited into Sibanda’s ZB account while the balance was shared with Rubaya getting $122 000 for his services while Tawengwa and Chinyanganya received $60 000 and $40 000 respectively.

However, in his warned-and-cautioned statement through his lawyer Advocate Thabani Mpofu, Rubaya dismissed the State’s allegations as malicious, frivolous and vexatious.

“I (Rubaya) deny the allegations in toto. These allegations are malicious, frivolous and vexatious and whoever has ordered my arrest was abusing his or her duty as a public officer. I was just instructed by Jefat Chaganda personally to represent him and I successfully executed the instructions in his presence, resulting in his acquittal,” Rubaya said.

“I am a legal practitioner employed to represent my clients diligently and to the best of my abilities as per the client’s instructions. I did not have the alleged knowledge about the alleged correct status of Jefat Chaganda at Qalo Mine, neither did I have the alleged knowledge that the gold had not originated from Qalo Mine as being alleged or at all.”

Rubaya said he was vehemently denying the allegation of unlawful facilitation or release of gold and would put the State to strict proof thereof.

“I was not involved in the origination, alteration or manipulation of any primary evidence for purposes of obstruction of justice as alleged or at all. I further deny being given any money as my alleged share as being alleged or at all and will put the state to strict proof thereof,” he said.

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