HARARE – Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) president, Henrietta Rushwaya, has been convicted of attempting to smuggle 6kg of gold worth US$330,000 in 2020.
The verdict was delivered virtually by Justice Pisirayi Kwenda of the Harare High Court following a five-day trial that took place from September 18 to 22.
Justice Kwenda has ordered Rush-waya to be taken into custody, with the warning that she faces the possibility of a custodial sentence.
In a statement, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) announced, “She has been detained in custody pending sentence which will be handed down on November 10, 2023.”
Two men who were initially charged alongside Rushwaya, Stephen Chenjeri Tserayi, 47, and Raphios Mufandauya, 40, were acquitted after the NPA dropped charges against them.
Rushwaya denies gold smuggling scandal
During her trial, Rushwaya, a former CEO of the Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA), denied attempting to smuggle the gold.
She argued that she had two identical handbags and mistakenly picked up the wrong one in her haste to get to the airport.
She maintained that she had nothing to hide and that she followed the usual airport protocols, which she believed were inconsistent with someone attempting to smuggle gold.
The gold was detected by an X-ray scanner at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport, leading to Rush-waya’s arrest.
The upcoming sentencing, scheduled for November 10, will determine the penalties Rushwaya will face for her conviction.