Two more jail nights for Rushwaya, to know bail fate on Friday

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By Mary Taruvinga

ZIMBABWE Miners Federation president Henrietta Rushwaya will spend two more nights in prison custody after a Harare magistrate Wednesday pushed bail ruling to this Friday.

Presiding magistrate Ngoni Nduna said he needed time to consider submissions by both the state and the defence.

The ex-ZIFA chief executive was arrested at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport Monday while checking in with some 6kg of gold in her hand luggage amid signs she was smuggling the precious mineral to Dubai, her destination.

The state on Tuesday consented to her granting of bail but the magistrate refused to “rubber-stamp” the concessions reached in private between the state and the defence insisting he was keen on knowing the reasons behind that.

Prosecutors returned to court Wednesday to indicate they were now withdrawing their consent.

On Wednesday, Rushwaya’s lawyer Tapson Dzvetero challenged the state saying withdrawing the consent on “11th hour was prejudicial to my client”.

Dzvetero said what was now happening showed there is an invisible hand now manipulating the process.

“In this case, the concession was signed by Mr Masuku and subsequently by Mr Reza. No affidavit has been placed before you (magisrate) on why the concession was made in the first place and what had transpired,” he argued in court.

Court was told Wednesday that when Rushwaya entered the airport building for check-in, the facility’s CCTV was switched off by staff amid signs this could have been an attempt by persons linked to her alleged offence to shield her from detection.

However, the lawyer said the state did not provide any evidence to prove that the CCTV was indeed switched off as alleged and that the former football administrator tried to bribe some officials at the airport.

“Also no information is given as to when the state became aware of this and there is no link that is given as to why that should affect the earlier concession given,” he said.

There is an allegation that another person impersonated a CIO operative and also the allegation that there is an Intelligence Officer who has been or was going to be arrested in connection with the matter.

“Again all these allegations are not substantiated by any facts,” further argued the lawyer.