Gold smuggler Henrietta Rushwaya faces harsh custodial sentence


Zimbabwe Miners Federation president, Henrietta Rushwaya, is facing the possibility of a harsh custodial sentence after being convicted of attempting to smuggle 6 kilograms of gold to Dubai.

The State, represented by Whisper Mabhaudhi, argued that Rushwaya should be given a custodial sentence due to the seriousness of the offence. Mabhaudhi cited previous cases where smugglers had been jailed, emphasizing that smuggling is a significant crime, especially given the country’s porous borders.

During the trial, State witness Mighty Pavarikanda from the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) revealed that Rushwaya’s actions could have deprived the country of potential revenue. Pavarikanda stated that Zimra’s royalties would have amounted to 5% of the value of the gold she attempted to smuggle, which was worth US$330,000. Thus, the State would have been entitled to US$16,652.11.

Rushwaya’s lawyer, Oliver Marwa, argued that the State had not suffered any prejudice since the amount was accounted for.

However, another witness, Tafadzwa Simon Muvevi from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Exchange Control Division, explained the negative effects of smuggling on the economy, including exchange rate instability, price instability, and inflation. Tichafa Chigaba, deputy director analytics at the RBZ Financial Intelligence Unit, also presented evidence highlighting the detrimental impact of smuggling.

However, Marwa dismissed these submissions as lacking relevance to the specific case at hand.

The case was heard by High Court judge Justice Pisirayi Kwenda, who will determine Rushwaya’s sentence. will be sentenced today, and it remains to be seen whether Rushwaya will receive a custodial sentence or an alternative punishment.

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