COMPREHENSIVE investigations into the gold smuggling case involving Henrietta Rushwaya, who was arrested while trying to leave the country last week, have revealed that a former State security agent lied to police officers that the gold belonged to First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa in order to obstruct or defeat the course of justice.
This comes as cases of name dropping have been on the rise in the country with individuals, including some corrupt elements in the security services, evoking names of Government officials to advance their corrupt tendencies.
In a statement, First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa dismissed attempts to link her and her son Collins to Rushwaya and her syndicate who were busted at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport trying to smuggle 6kg of gold to Dubai.
The First Lady challenged the police through their relevant office to issue a statement “with regards the utterances by one officer during her arrest that falsely implicated” her and Collins.
“As First Lady my duty is first and foremost to Zimbabwe as a nation. I serve each and every Zimbabwean whole heartedly and selflessly. I serve the interests of my nation and not any individual. I do not engage in illegal narrow-minded pursuits like gold smuggling.
“I have no dealings nor involvement with Miss Henrietta Rushwaya of any illegal kind. I am challenging the police through their relevant office to issue a statement.
“I am a strong advocate for transparency and honesty and any continued silence by the police can be misconstrued as a cover up. If there is any incriminating evidence against me I challenge the police to present it to the nation without fear or favour. If there be none I also challenge the police to say so,” she said.
And the police have since established that Gift Karanda name-dropped when he was arrested along with Rushwaya in order to wriggle himself and his co-accused out of the gold smuggling case.
In a statement, the Police yesterday confirmed that Karanda is facing charges of contravening the Criminal Codification and Reform Act “Defeating or Obstructing the Course of Justice”.
“He is also facing charges of contravening section 3(1)(a) of the gold Trade Act (Chapter 21;03), dealing in and possession of gold without being a holder of a licence permit and also contravening section 182 (1) of the Customs and Excise Act (Chapter 23;02), smuggling.
“This relates to the utterances to law enforcement officers at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport on October 26, 2020, when he indicated that there was no case as the gold belonged to First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa and her son Collins Mnangagwa.
“Comprehensive investigations have proved that the statement by Gift Karanda was false and malicious with intent to defeat or obstruct the course of justice.
“As such he was accordingly charged and the case is pending before the courts,” said police national spokesman Senior Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi.
In her statement, the First Lady, who has won the nation’s hearts because of her philanthropic works around the country, added that the continued attempts to besmirch the First Family will not sway her from carrying on with her programmes.
“I will not be dissuaded from working for those who need my help in both rural and urban areas. I will also support totally all anti-corruption activities regardless of the many malicious attacks clearly designed to cow me from supporting them. I stand firm on my principles.
“It pains me that my son who is hard working and an obedient son, is being attacked for no reason other than being a member of the First Family. He is a hard working person and strives to improve himself day by day. As a mother I am proud of his work ethic and encourage him not be affected by malicious rumours.
“I am an advocate for peace and love and work hard at helping those who I can. I am greatly aggravated by the continuation of these false stories and claims. However, I remain unshaken and will continue to serve my nation in its entirety to the best of my ability,’’ she said.