By Mary Taruvinga
HENRIETTA Rushwaya, battling to secure bail after she was caught attempting to smuggle gold, Wednesday presented in court documentation showing she operates mining business worth “hundreds of millions of dollars”.
Rushwaya is facing charges of contravening the Customs Act, bribery and unlawful possession of gold.
She appeared before Harare magistrate Ngoni Nduna, and Rushwaya through her lawyer said she had no reason to abscond if granted bail as she operates a very lucrative mining enterprise.
Rushwaya also denied being the owner of the gold found on her telling the court the bag was planted on her.
The case has been dragging since last Tuesday. She is in remand prison with five other suspects who are alleged to be part of a huge gold smuggling syndicate.
The other suspects are; Pakistani businessman and gold dealer Ali Mohammed, Stephen Tserayi, Rafios Mufandauya both members of the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO), and Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) employee Gift Karanda.
Rushwaya’s defence Wednesday cross-examined the investigating officer Detective Chief Inspector Michael Chibaya who is buttressing state’s submissions opposing bail.
Rushwaya’s lawyer, Tapson Dzvetero presented in court a special grant certificate in respect of Mupfurudzi Safari area mining belonging to a company known as Realm Technologies in which Rushwaya is a director and shareholder.
Dzvetero said the mine was worth “hundreds of millions” and Rushwaya will not run away from such a business to avoid prosecution.
The court was also shown a Memorandum of Mining Lease Agreement between the Zimbabwe National Parks and Realm Technologies where Rushwaya is a signatory.
Dzvetero also said his client owns Canacube Zimbabwe Private Limited whose business is to farm, produce and market medical cannabis.
Dzvetero said because of his client’s business interests, Rushwaya cannot abscond trial. According to her lawyer, Rushwaya is said to have a tribute agreement in respect of a mine in Shangani with vast gold ore.
However, Chibaya said this can only be confirmed after investigations.
Dzvetero said his client has over 50 employees, two children and parents depending on her adding there was no evidence to support bribery allegations.
However, Chibaya said Rushwaya should not be granted bail as it was clear she has links in Dubai where the gold was destined for.
He said Rushwaya also made more international connections during her time as ZIFA’s chief executive as she travelled a lot during that time.
The bail hearing continues Thursday.