Rushwaya escapes custodial sentence 

Source: Rushwaya escapes custodial sentence -Newsday Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) president Henrietta Rushwaya, yesterday escaped a custodial sentence following her conviction for trying to smuggle 6kg of gold to the United Arab Emirates.

Rushwaya was only fined US$5 000 by Justice Pasirai Kwenda.

She faces 12 months in prison if she does not pay the fine by tomorrow, the judge said.

Rushwaya was convicted after the State proved that she tried to smuggle 6kg of gold worth US$330 000 to Dubai in 2020.

In her defence, Rushwaya claimed that she had carried a wrong bag as she rushed to the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport.

In passing sentence, Kwenda said the court considered that Rushwaya was a first offender and had not profited from the proceeds of the crime,

The State on Tuesday had pleaded for a harsh custodial sentence as a deterrent to would-be offenders.

But Kwenda said the court considered her age and that she and her business had suffered reputational damage.

The gold will be forfeited to the State.

Her alleged accomplices, two Central Intelligence Organisation operatives Stephen Tserai and Raphios Mufandauya, were acquitted of the charge for lack of evidence at the close of the State case.

On October 26, 2020, Rushwaya went through the VIP route at the airport, evading police checkpoints.

When she went through an X-Ray monitoring machine, a suspicious object was identified in her luggage, leading to a physical search by a Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe security officer.

The search yielded four gold bars and Rushwaya failed to produce an export permit and produced a commercial invoice and a packing list onbehalf of Ali Japan 786 (Pvt) Ltd authorising her to transport the gold.

The State successfully argued that it was unlawful for her to export gold using such documents.