By Mary Taruvinga
FORMER Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) operative, Raphios Mufandauya who is jointly charged with Henrietta Rushwaya, businessman Ali Mohamad, Steven Tserayi and Gift Karanda has denied being part of the suspected gold smuggling syndicate.
Through his lawyer Joshua Chirambwe, Mufandauya said he instead initiated the arrest of Rushwaya last week at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport where the Zimbabwe miners boss was attempting to smuggle 6kg of gold to Dubai.
The former spy said he was at the airport on the day when Rushwaya was arrested as part of his duties which involved extracting information from prominent people.
“My client, is actually supposed to be a witness in the matter and nailing him is an attempt to avoid certain truths,” said Chirambwe during Mufandauya’s bail hearing Friday.
However, the investigating officer, Detective Chief Inspector Michael Chibaya, during cross examination said Mufandauya instead made sure Rushwaya had safe passage at the airport.
Chirambwe insisted his client should be granted bail because other accused persons have been granted bail for serious matters such as murder, rape and treason.
He also claimed there was no evidence linking Mufandauya to the alleged smuggling allegation and tampering with CCTV cameras at the airport as Rushwaya went through pre-departure clearance.
Meanwhile, Karanda, who is alleged to have name dropped the First Family to save Rushwaya from arrest said through his lawyer Dumisani Mthombeni he was not found in possession of the gold yet he was being charged for unlawful possession of the precious mineral.
Karanda said he never accompanied Rushwaya to the airport claiming he was at his home when Rushwaya was arrested.
It was his submission that he was initially arrested on a charge of impersonation, “confirming state’s confusion”.
“In his warned and cautioned statement, he never mentioned that the gold belonged to the First Lady as alleged but it is an insensitive and false allegation which is deliberately said to try and scandalise both himself and the First Lady.
“Whoever is alleging this is deliberately trying to advance a very sinister agenda through these false allegations,” said Mthombeni.