ZIMBABWE Miners Federation president Henrietta Rushwaya, who was arrested together with businessman Ali Mohamad, Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) operatives Steven Tserayi and Raphios Mufandauya and miner Gift Karanda on charges of smuggling and unlawful possession of gold, will spend the weekend in remand prison.
Yesterday, CIO operative Mufandauya denied any links with the accused, claiming instead that he caused the arrest of Rushwaya.
This came out through his lawyer Joshua Chirambwe when cross examining a State witness and investigating officer detective chief inspector Michael Chibaya.
Mufandauya said he was at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport on the day Rushwaya was arrested as part of his duties which involved eliciting information from popular people and he is allowed to request travelling documents from people.
The CIO operative is alleged to have been the one who was holding Rushwaya’s travelling documents when she was busted allegedly in possession of 6kg of purified gold on October 26 at the airport.
Chirambwe said Mufandauya was supposed to be a witness in the matter. He said his arrest was an attempt to avoid certain “truths” from coming out.
Chibaya disputed the narrative, saying Mufandauya was part of the syndicate stationed at the airport to facilitate the easy smuggling of the gold.
Karanda, who is accused of name dropping First Lady Auxillia and Collins Mnangagwa’s names as the owners of the gold at the airport, said that claim was designed to soil the First Family’s name.
Through his lawyer Dumisani Mthombeni, Karanda said the allegation that he name-dropped the first lady and Collins was “disinformation and a false narrative created by enemies of the first family”.
He said the alleged words have “unjustifiably scandalised the first family and that the same allegations infuriated the public and social media went crazy”.
“Karanda says in his warned and cautioned statement that he never mentioned that the gold belonged to the first lady as alleged, but it is an insensitive and false allegation which is deliberately said to try and scandalise both myself and the first lady. Whoever is alleging this is deliberately trying to advance a very sinister agenda through these false allegations,” Mthombeni stated.
The investigating officer insisted that Karanda uttered the words, adding there were witnesses to testify to that. He argued that it was in the interest of justice to have the five denied bail.
The bail hearing will continue on Monday with State counsel Garudzo Ziyaduma set to re-examine the investigating officer.