BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE ZIMBABWE Federation of Miners (ZFM) president Henrietta Rushwaya was yesterday acquitted on charges of trying to bribe airport authorities to enable her to smuggle gold outside the country.
Harare magistrate Learnmore Mapiye ruled that the State failed to prove its case against Rushwaya, who was represented by Peter Patisani.
Rushwaya was being accused of trying to bribe Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport security personnel after she was found in possession of 6kg of gold in October 2020.
She was arrested as she was about to board a Dubai-bound flight and charged with attempted gold smuggling.
Mapiye ruled that the State’s star witness, Owen Sibanda, denied that he was bribed.
“Sibanda said he had taken the issue of bribery as a joke, but the real issue was for smuggling the gold. He further said US$5 000 promised by Rushwaya was for the five officers while the second witness said it was Sibanda alone who was promised,” Mapiye said.
The magistrate said the court was not satisfied that the accused committed the offence.
The State had alleged that the former Zimbabwe Football Association president offered a US$5 000 bribe to Sibanda who was operating the X-ray machine at the airport when the gold was detected.