SENIOR STAFF WRITER
SUSPENDED Zimbabwe Miners Federation leader Henrietta Rushwaya insists she will not interfere with witnesses and is not a flight risk after applying for bail at the High Court in her 6kg gold smuggling case.
This comes as she has spent 18 days in remand prison after Harare regional magistrate Ngoni Nduna denied her bail in the matter.
Rushwaya was arrested last month at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport as she was due to fly to Dubai, when airport security scanners flagged her hand luggage — which was said to be concealing 6kg of gold worth nearly US$400 000.
She is jointly charged with Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) operatives Steven Tserayi, Raphios Mufandauya, Gift Karanda and businessman Ali Mohamad, who has since been released on $100 000 bail.
In denying her bail last week, Nduna said Rushwaya was a flight risk and would interfere with witnesses in the case.
However, in her bail application lodged with the court by lawyer Tapson Dzvetero, Rushwaya is arguing that Nduna erred since prosecutors did not provide any evidence of her likelihood to abscond and avoid trial.
She said the magistrate was wrong to assume that she would interfere with witnesses and should not have reopened the bail hearing after initially being advised by the State that her release was not being objected to.
“The learned magistrate misdirected himself in concluding that the applicant has connections outside the country which might act as an inducement to abscond when no such evidence was placed before the court.
“The State did not provide evidence that the applicant had connections outside the country that would provide refuge in case of abscondment and the onus rested on the State to prove that allegation,” she said.
Rushwaya further contends that she is innocent until proven guilty.