By Mary Taruvinga
The High Court has once again deferred sentencing of Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) president Henrietta Rushwaya to Wednesday after prosecution called in three witnesses to nail her in aggravation.
Rushwaya was convicted two weeks ago after she was found guilty of trying to smuggle 6 kgs of gold worth US$330 000 to Dubai.
In aggravation, prosecutor Whisper Mabhaudhi referred to similar cases handled by the High Court before, urging the court to give Rushwaya a custodial sentence stating that her offence was serious.
“In previous cases it was held that smuggling is a serious offence and with porous borders offenders should face a harsh custodial sentence.
“A non-custodial sentence will trivialise the offence and send a wrong message to would-be offenders…treatment of first offenders to non-custodial sentencing is circumstantial,” he said.
The state also called three witnesses including Mighty Pavarikanda from ZIMRA.
Pavarikanda works in the department of Technical Services, domestic taxes at Zimra head-office
He said Zimra’s royalties were going to be 5% of the value of gold which was almost smuggled by Rushwaya to Dubai, which is US$16, 652, 11.
Pavarikanda also explained how royalties are collected, noting that there was a potential prejudice not actual prejudice during cross examination with Rushwaya’s lawyer Oliver Marwa.
Marwa also said the gold was not taken out of the country adding that it was accounted for.
“The gold is still in Zimbabwe which means it is a potential loss,”he said.
Pavarikanda also said if it was going to be proved that Rushwaya is a small-scale miner potential prejudice will be reduced to US$3, 315, 42.
Tafadzwa Simon Muvevi from RBZ’s Exchange Control Division also explained protocols to be followed when one is exporting gold.
He said smuggling has serious effects on the economy including exchange rate instability, price instability leading to inflation and inflation.
Tichafa Chigaba Deputy director analytics, RBZ Financial Intelligence Unit also tendered his submissions detailing effects of smuggling which were dismissed by Marwa as useless in this case.
“Your affidavit is just about general impacts of smuggling and there is no assessment of the impact of this particular case,”said Marwa.