Police in Zimbabwe have arrested two members of the dreaded Central Intelligence Organization (CIO) following the seizure of gold worth US$330,000 stashed in the hand luggage of former Zimbabwe Football Association boss, Henrieta Rushwaya, who was allegedly attempting to smuggle it to Dubai.
In what appears to be a police sting, Rushwaya was searched at Robert Mugabe International Airport on Monday and found with 6,09 kilograms of gold hidden in her bags. She informed the Criminal Investigation Department that she obtained the gold from a businessman, Ali Mohamad, with Middle East connections.
In a statement, police said, “The ZRP confirms that 6 more suspects have been arrested in connection with the gold smuggling investigation on Henrietta Rushwaya. These are Ali Mohamad, Gift Karanda, Stephen Chenjerai Tserayi, Raphios Mufandauya, Superintendent Shoko and Det. Chief Inspector Chimhungu. The suspects will appear in court soon."
Tserayi and Mupandauya are CIO operatives while Karanda allegedly lied that he was a state security agent when he was quizzed by the police at the RGM airport.
In a tweet, Information Secretary Nick Mangwana said, “We have very dishonesty people in our country. They should be arrested and their filthy lucre confiscated. But it's a very self- comforting disposition to believe everyone who is successful has either stolen or benefited from political patronage. It helps you not blame yourself.
“In December 2019, President Mnangagwa revealed that Dubai authorities told him Zimbabwe had lost about US$60m worth of gold smuggled there. He promised to deal with it. We have had the first arrest, more are on the way. The syndicate will unravel. ED sees through his promises.”
Rushwaya, who is the president of the Zimbabwe Miners Federation, has been remanded in custody with her attorney claiming that the state had initially agreed to grant her ZWL90,000 bail but backtracked for no apparent reason.
The state now claims that Rushwaya has committed a serious offence and therefore it was improper for the prosecutor to enter intro an agreement with her attorneys without carefully assessing the gravity of the case.
Magistrate Ngoni Nduna is set to make a determination on the case Friday.
In a video circulating on social media, the British House of Commons has linked the gold smuggling attempt to President Emmerson Mnangagwa, saying Rushwaya is one of his relatives.
Presidential spokesperson George Charamba was unreachable for comment as he was not responding to calls on his mobile phone.
But in a tweet, Mangwana chided the British saying, “What is it with certain noses always finding themselves where they are not required and where they have no business. There is a smuggling ring bust in Zimbabwe and suddenly it's a motion in your Upper house? After all the bust was done by our own security services. Ours!”
America has cited corruption as one of the issues devastating the southern African nation where over 83 Zanu PF officials and 37 companies are under targeted sanctions.