Henrietta Rushwaya’s ‘accomplices’ granted $30 000 bail each
TWO Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) operatives Stephen Tserai and Raphios Mufandauya, arrested together with Henrietta Rushwaya for allegedly trying to smuggle 6kg of gold out of Zimbabwe, have
been granted $30 000 bail each.
Also freed is Zimbabwe Miners Federation staffer Gift Karanda, who was also granted $30 000 bail after a successful application on changed circumstances.
The two secret service agents are alleged to have tried to facilitate a safe passage for Rushwaya at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport before she was caught with the gold worth close to US$400 000 in her hand luggage last October.
As part of their bail conditions, Tserai, Mufandauya and Karanda have been barred from setting foot at the airport until the matter is finalised. They were also ordered to report to the police once every fortnight as part of the bail
Following their arrest, they were initially denied bail by the magistrates’ court and took their appeal to the High Court where they were also not successful. Rushwaya, the alleged mastermind of the smuggling syndicate, was earlier this month freed on $100 000 bail after citing changed circumstances.
The former Zifa chief executive officer claimed that she took a wrong bag to the airport on the day in question and had no intention of smuggling the gold to Dubai.
Following Rushwaya’s release from remand, Tserai, Mufandauya and Karanda also returned to the lower court with fresh bail applications on
changed circumstances. They also cited the current hard Covid-19 lockdown which would not allow them to abscond from justice as movement is severely restricted. Tserai’s lawyer Admire Rubaya argued that investigations into Rushwaya’s defence clearly exonerated his client for having knowledge of the gold.
“The applicant has learnt that the police have since investigated the alleged chief perpetrator (Henrietta) defence that she had mistakenly taken a wrong bag.
“The State has since recorded statements from all their relevant witnesses. This clearly exonerates the accused that he had no knowledge of what was contained in Henrietta’s bag,” Rubaya argued.
Karanda’s lawyers Tungamirai Chakurira and Zorodzai Dumbura argued the completion of investigations is enough for their client to be released.
“Applicant states that the police have had sufficient time to investigate the cases against him while he was in prison custody. “Applicant is reliably informed that investigations in all the matters against him have been completed and all the witness statements have been recorded,” Karanda’s lawyers argued.