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First Lady Auxilia Mnangagwa: I Do Not Engage in Illegal Narrow-Minded Pursuits Like Gold Smuggling

FILE: Emmerson Mnangagwa and his wife Auxillia, right, at the presidential inauguration ceremony in the capital Harare, Zimbabwe Friday, Nov. 24, 2017.(AP)

Zimbabwe’s First Lady, Auxillia Mnangagwa, says she is not engaged in gold smuggling as alleged by a man, who implicated her when he was arrested at Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport last week with former ZIFA boss, Henrieta Rushwaya, suspected to have been in possession of over six kilograms of the precious metal, destined to a shady market in Dubai, Middle East.

According to the state-controlled Herald newspaper, Mrs. Mnangagwa has demanded a police explanation over Gift Karanda’s claims that the gold worth US$300,000 found in Rushwaya’s hand luggage, belonged to the first lady and her son, Collins.

She is quoted as saying, “… 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 be none I also challenge the police to say so.”

Mrs. Mnangagwa said she is worried about the manner her son is being attacked by some Zimbabweans after he was linked to another shady deal, which resulted in the firing sometime this year of then Health Minister Obadiah Moyo.

Dr. Moyo allegedly signed a deal with a company for the supply of over $60 million of COVID-19 materials without following proper government procedures.

Mrs. Mnangagwa is quoted as saying, “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 be affected by malicious rumours.”

Responding to calls by Mrs. Mnangagwa for police to issue a statement on the issue, ZRP spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi, said, “The Zimbabwe Republic Police confirms that Gift Karanda was arrested and is facing charges of contravening section 184*1)(e) of the Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act (Chapter 9:23) that is 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 or permit and also contravening section 182(1) of the Customs and Excise Act (Chapter 23:02), smuggling.

“This relates to his utterances to law enforcement officers at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport on 26 October 2020 when he indicated that there was no case as the gold belonged to the First Lady Amai Auxilia 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 courts of justice.”

Rushwaya is facing charges of attempting to smuggle 6,09 kilograms of gold to Dubai and illegal possession of a precious metal.

Several other people – Ali Mohamad of Ali Japan 786, Central Intelligence Organization operatives Stephen Tserayi and Raphios Mufandauya, and senior police officers Douglas Shoko and Paul Chimungu of the Minerals, Flora and Fauna Unit.

Mohamad’s attorney argues that charges against his client should be dropped.

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