Henrietta Rushwaya who was arrested while trying to smuggle 6kg of gold out of Zimbabwe convicted


Henrietta Rushwaya, the president of Zimbabwe’s Miners Federation, has been convicted on charges related to a 2020 attempt to smuggle gold out of the country.

Rushwaya was arrested three years ago at Robert Mugabe International Airport in Harare while attempting to board a flight to Dubai. Airport security stopped her after discovering over 6kg of gold worth approximately US$333,000 in her handbag. She did not have the proper export permits for the valuable cargo.

Rushwaya has long denied wrongdoing in the case. She claimed it was all a mistake and she had accidentally picked up the wrong bag containing gold instead of her own personal effects. However, prosecutors argued she presented fake documents to justify exporting the gold, including a phony invoice from a company called Ali Japan 786 (Pvt) Limited.

Initially, two intelligence operatives travelling with Rushwaya were also charged as co-conspirators in the smuggling plot. But the court ultimately dismissed charges against them due to insufficient evidence presented by the state.

After a full trial, the presiding judge has now found Rushwaya guilty as charged. She was remanded into custody until her sentencing hearing on 10 November 2023.

As president of an organization representing Zimbabwe’s prominent mining sector, Rushwaya’s conviction has surely been an embarrassment. It serves as a reminder that in the Second Republic, even those in positions of authority are not above the law.

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