The State yesterday made an about-turn and withdrew its earlier offer of bail to Zimbabwe Miners Federation president Henrietta Rushwaya, claiming she was likely part of a larger syndicate in a gold smuggling racket.
BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
The State said it now had fresh details on the circumstances surrounding her case, confirming she was working with a central intelligence officer (CIO) and other purported intelligence officers.
The State threatened more arrests in connection with Rushwaya’s gold smuggling case.
The former football administrator is being charged with contravening section 182 of the Customs and Excise Act after she was arrested on Monday at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport while trying to smuggle 6 095,66 grammes of gold to Dubai.
State prosecutor Garudzo Ziyadhuma told the court that they were withdrawing their earlier consent to grant her bail and would justify why it is now being opposed.
Ziyadhuma said the manner in which the crime was committed pointed to a classic example of organised crime.
“When the accused person approached the exit point, the CCTV that was manning the area was switched off and her clearance took less than four minutes. The syndicate is actually wider and upon taking note of that in light of the scope of investigation, we are bringing some of the suspects in court on similar charges tomorrow (today),” Ziyadhuma told the court.
“There is also evidence availed that the accused person attempted to bribe the officers who captured her at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport. There are also other persons involved in assisting the accused person to smuggle the gold, a member of the Central Intelligence Organisation and another who purports to be a member of the CIO.”
Ziyadhuma said the State was also intending to investigate the destination of the gold.
Rushwaya’s lawyer Tapson Dzvetero opposed the withdrawal of the consent saying the State had not complied with the court order which asked it to provide reasons for consenting to the granting of bail.
“There is a directive by this court directed to the State on why they made concessions not to oppose bail and that directive has not been complied with by the State. The State has not submitted the reasons why they conceded to bail on Wednesday,” Dzvetero said.
Dzvetero said if there were any changed circumstances, the State was at liberty to bring them TO COURT before it consented.
“The State’s approach leaves one with a sour taste in the mouth. Is it that the concession was made through corrupt means? If it was genuine, on which basis was it arrived at? If it was there, what was there that is now missing or has changed? The State is trying to jump the question of the concession and its basis in the first place,” Dzvetero said. He said the approach had now scandalised the institution of the Prosecutor-General’s Office and the entire investigations.
Magistrate Ngoni Nduna postponed the matter to tomorrow, saying he needed time to assess all the points of law submitted by both parties before making a ruling.