Henrietta Rushwaya will spend another weekend in remand prison after the High Court reserved ruling on her appeal for bail pending trial on charges of attempting to smuggle gold to Dubai after four gold bars weighing 6kg were found in her hand luggage.
Justice Benjaimin Chikowere reserved judgment indefinitely to study the submissions presented by the State and the defence lawyers in the appeal by Rushwaya and co-accused Steven Tserayi against the remand court’s decision to deny them bail.
“After hearing submissions by counsel for all the accused, I need sufficient time to consider the matter. Therefore, judgment is reserved,” said Justice Chikowero.
Arguing for State, Mr Austin Muzivi urged the court to dismiss the appeal by Rushwaya and Tserayi, saying it was unfounded and lacked merit. He maintained that the remand court had accepted that there was connivance and all the suspects acted as a syndicate.
“The court had to rule in favour of one side. And that side was the State’s side,” he said.
Mr Muzivi also argued that Rushwaya’s licence did not allow her to possess gold from Fidelity Printers, the designated State buyer of all gold.
“She must take the gold to Fidelity instead. Judging by the purity of 99 percent it is clear the gold was coming from Fidelity,” said Mr Muzivi, urging the court not to interfere with the lower court’s ruling, which he argued was proper under the circumstances.
In response, Rushwaya’s lawyer Mr Tapson Dzvetero insisted that the court grossly misdirected itself by its failure to apply the presumption of innocence until proven guilty.
“It was a gross misdirection by the court to give differential treatment to the accused persons without giving proper reasons for such,” he said. “The concession by the State that she has a valid permit to possess gold is evidence of a weak State case in the charge of possession.”
Mr Admire Rubaya, who is acting for Tserayi, also argued along his written submissions seeking to convince the court to allow the appeal.
Rushwaya was preparing to board a plane at Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport in October, when she was arrested after she was taken through the VIP route by some of her co-accused and was caught with the gold in her hand luggage during a search. She has maintained that she was carrying the wrong bag.
Since then, she has been in custody battling to get bail. After being denied bail at the Harare Magistrates’ Court, Rushwaya appealed to the High Court.
Rushwaya is being jointly charged with a Pakistani national Ali Mohammed, who is out of custody on $100 000 bail. Tserayi and his colleague Raphios Mufandauya, and one of Rushwaya’s subordinates at the Zimbabwe Miners’ Federation, Gift Karanda, are also facing the same charges.
All, except Mohammed, were denied bail in the remand court.