ZIMBABWE Miners Federation president Henrietta Rushwaya’s alleged accomplice in the 6kg gold smuggling syndicate, Gift Karanda, has named First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa and her twin son, Collins as owners of the gold bars intercepted at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport on Monday.
A leaked internal police memorandum seen by NewsDay Weekender yesterday revealed that following Rushwaya’s arrest at the airport with gold bars worth over US$330 000, Karanda tried to save her.
Karanda (44), who is being charged with defeating or obstructing the course of justice, allegedly told detectives at the airport that the gold Rushwaya was carrying “belonged to the First Lady and one Collins, a son to the First Family, who was supposed to have brought it, but due to other commitments had requested Rushwaya to transport it on his behalf.”
On her arrest, Rushwaya allegedly claimed to have been given the parcel by Pakistani businessman Ali Mohammed to pass it on to an unnamed recipient in Dubai.
Contacted for comment, national police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said he was unaware that the First Lady and her son had been implicated in the matter.
“I haven’t seen what Karanda said. I am unaware of such issues if they were said by him,” Nyathi said.
Collins was previously linked to a COVID-19 procurement scandal involving US$60 million with Drax International fronted by Delish Nguwaya, a close ally of the First Family.
The President’s son, however, denied having business or personal links with Nguwaya although they had been seen together on several occasions during State functions. Both Nguwaya and former Health minister Obadiah Moyo, who was axed from government over the exposé, are on remand pending trial.
Rushwaya was arrested on Monday as she was about to leave for Dubai with her gold stash and has been in custody since then. Six more suspects were arrested on Wednesday in connection with the smuggling case. These include Mohammed, Karanda, Raphios Mufandauya, Central Intelligence Organisation operative Stephen Chenjerai Tserayi, and top police officers Superintendent Douglas Shoko and Detective Chief Inspector
Shoko is officer commanding Minerals, Flora and Fauna Unit and Chimhungu is officer-in-charge of the unit. They allegedly received a bribe from Mohammed so that they would not arrest and detain him in custody.
Initially, the State had offered Rushwaya bail, but made an about- turn on Wednesday, claiming that new details had emerged which suggested she was part of a gold smuggling syndicate.
The State yesterday added two more charges of unlawful possession of gold and bribery after she allegedly attempted to bribe the arresting officers.
Harare magistrate Ngoni Nduna upheld the State’s application for withdrawal of bail consent and Rushwaya is now expected to make a full bail application on Monday where she will be jointly charged with her alleged accomplices.