THE bail hearing for Henrietta Rushwaya and her four alleged accomplices in the gold smuggling case concluded yesterday with the State insisting that the five had committed a serious offence and were likely to abscond trial if granted bail.
BY MIRIAM MANGWAYA
In their bail application, Rushwaya, Pakistani businessman Ali Muhammad, Stephen Chenjerai Tserayi, Raphios Mufandauya and Gift Karanda denied attempting to smuggle the 6kg gold.
They are being charged with smuggling, illegal possession of gold, criminal abuse of office and defeating the course of justice.
The State had initially consented that Rushwaya be granted bail when she first appeared in court, but later withdrew the consent.
In opposing bail, the State represented by Prosecutor Garudzo Ziyaduma argued that the five were facing a serious offence which attracted a minimum jail term of five years if convicted.
Rushwaya, through her lawyer Tapson Dzvetero, had submitted that she was not likely to interfere with witnesses since the docket on her case was completed, but Ziyaduma said investigations were still underway.
Ziyaduma also submitted that although Muhammad, through his lawyer Robson Tanyanyiwa, had declared his innocence in the smuggling case since he was not found in possession of gold, the Gold Act clearly stated that a person can possess gold either by principal or agent, therefore, full trial would determine Muhammad’s innocence.
He also said the State had strong evidence against all the accused, which included the CCTV footage and witnesses at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport where the offence was committed.
But Tserayi on Monday told the court that he suspected that the State was relying on manipulated analogue CCTV footage, after the digital version was deleted.
Mufandauya, through his lawyer Joshua Chirambwe, yesterday submitted that he could not abscond trial since he had no passport, neither had he connections outside the country.
He submitted that he could not be denied bail on the basis that the police were yet to complete their investigations when in actual fact, they were supposed to arrest someone after full investigations were done.
The matter was postponed to Monday when magistrate Ngoni Nduna will make a ruling on the bail applications.
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