By Nyashadzashe Ndoro
First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa yesterday told the police to release a statement distancing herself from Henrietta Rushwaya’s gold smuggling case.
Rushwaya was arrested last week for trying to smuggle 6.09kgs of gold to Dubai. A former State security agent, Gift Karanda reportedly claimed the gold belonged to the First Lady during their arrest along with Rushwaya.
In a statement on Sunday the First Lady challenged police to release a statement clearing her name and that of her son Collins whom she was implicated with.
“As First Lady my duty is first and foremost to Zimbabwe as a nation. I serve each and every Zimbabwean whole heartedly and selflessly. I serve the interests of my nation and not any individual. I do not engage in illegal narrow-minded pursuits like gold smuggling.
“I have no dealings nor involvement with Miss Henrietta Rushwaya of any illegal kind. I am challenging the police through their relevant office to issue a statement.
“I am a strong advocate for transparency and honesty and any continued silence by the police can be misconstrued as a cover up.
“If there is any incriminating evidence against me I challenge the police to present it to the nation without fear or favour. If there is none I also challenge the police to say so.
“It pains me that my son, who is hard working and an obedient son, is being attacked for no reason other than being a member of the First Family.
“He is a hard working person and strives to improve himself day by day. As a mother I am proud of his work ethic and encourage him not to be affected by malicious rumours.
“I am an advocate for peace and love and work hard at helping those who I can. I am greatly aggravated by the continuation of these false stories and claims. However, I remain unshaken and will continue to serve my nation in its entirety to the best of my ability,’’ she said.
In a statement of compliance with the First Family’s order, police national spokesman Senior Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi confirmed that Karanda is facing charges of contravening the Criminal Codification and Reform Act “Defeating or Obstructing the Course of Justice”.
“He is also facing charges of contravening section 3(1)(a) of the gold Trade Act (Chapter 21;03), dealing in and possession of gold without being a holder of a licence permit and also contravening section 182 (1) of the Customs and Excise Act (Chapter 23;02), smuggling.
“This relates to the utterances of law enforcement officers at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport on October 26, 2020, when he indicated that there was no case as the gold belonged to First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa and her son Collins Mnangagwa.
“Comprehensive investigations have proved that the statement by Gift Karanda was false and malicious with intent to defeat or obstruct the course of justice.
“As such he was accordingly charged and the case is pending before the courts,” Nyathi said.
This is not the first time the Mnangagwa’s family has been implicated in corruption. The First Lady and son Collins were implicated in the US $60 million Drax Covidgate scandal which led to the arrest and dismissal of former Health Minister Obadiah Moyo. Nehanda Radio