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Rushwaya bail appeal delayed

By Fidelis Munyoro

The High Court yesterday adjourned to tomorrow the hearing of Henrietta Rushwaya’s appeal for bail on charges of attempting to smuggle gold to Dubai after four gold bars weighing 6kg were found in her baggage.

Henrietta Rushwaya was arrested after airport scanners picked up 6kg of gold in her handbag as she attempted to board a flight to Dubai. Over 14 gold bars at the centre of the smuggling scandal that engulfed the First Family are believed to have been stolen from the vaults of the state-owned refinery Fidelity Printers and Refiners.
Henrietta Rushwaya was arrested after airport scanners picked up 6kg of gold in her handbag as she attempted to board a flight to Dubai. Over 14 gold bars at the centre of the smuggling scandal that engulfed the First Family are believed to have been stolen from the vaults of the state-owned refinery Fidelity Printers and Refiners.

She was preparing to board a plane at Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport in October when she was arrested.

Since then, she has been in custody battling to get bail pending trial. After being denied bail at the Harare Magistrates Court, Rushwaya appealed to the High Court.

Justice Benjamin Chikowero moved the hearing to tomorrow after the defence counsel Mr Tapson Dzvetero of Antonio and Dzvetero Legal Practitioners made his submissions to convince the court to allow the appeal.

It emerged during the defence submissions that some documents were missing from the batch of documents submitted by the defence, including some pages from the record of proceedings from the remand court plus Rushwaya’s permit for buying and selling gold.

Justice Chikowero asked the defence for the missing pages and the defence made an undertaking to retrieve these from the magistrates’ court.

The prosecution, which had not filed their response by yesterday, were told to do so before the continuation of the hearing tomorrow.

Justice Chikowero also wants the bail appeal by one of Rushwaya’s co-accused, Steven Tserayi, to be dealt with together with that of Rushwaya since they were being charged together.

Mr Dzvetero told the court that Rushwaya was a suitable candidate for bail and urged the court to allow the appeal.

He argued that the magistrate Mr Ngoni Nduna erred in refusing bail on the grounds that there was a strong State case and Rushwaya had access to resources and outside connections that could allow her to flee.

Mr Dzvetero said the presumption of innocence works in favour of Rushwaya also taking into consideration the “glaring weaknesses” in the State’s case.

He argued that the magistrate’s reasoning that Rushwaya was connected with the outside world was based on speculation, thus his conclusion was wrong.

“There was no evidence placed before him to justify that position,” argued Mr Dzvetero.

Rushwaya is being jointly charged with a Pakistan national Ali Mohammed, who is out of custody on a $100 000 bail.

Tserayi and his colleague Raphios Mufandauya, and one of Rushwaya’s subordinates at the Zimbabwe Miners’ Federation, Gift Karanda, are also facing the same charges.

All, except Mohammed, were denied bail in the remand court. The Herald.

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