Yesteryear football administrator and controversial Zimbabwe Miners’ Federation (ZMF) president Henrietta Rushwaya was yesterday nabbed by detectives from CID Minerals at Robert Mugabe International Airport after she attempted to smuggle gold weighing over 6 kgs to Dubai.

The 53-year old former Zimbabwe Football Association chief executive officer, who is expected to appear in court today, did not have supporting documents for the exportation of the precious metal and, in turn, told arresting detectives that the targeted recipients of the treasured mineral were transnational car dealers, Ali Japan 786.

The politically connected ex-Zifa boss, known for her links with the ruling Zanu PF, is being charged with attempting to smuggle, and illegal possession of the precious minerals.

Reports say Rushwaya claimed that she obtained the gold from a one Ali Mahommed of the car dealership Ali Japan 786, and had been instructed to hand it over to a contact in Dubai.

She said the gold was obtained from Ali at No.32 Lanark Road, Belgravia, Harare.

According to Rushwaya, Ali was a licensed gold buyer using the name Ali Japan 786 Private Limited. Ali Japan 786 is a company involved in buying and selling of second hand vehicles in several countries.

Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) scanners at the airport checkpoint allegedly indicated that there were metal belongings in her hand luggage.

“As a result searches revealed that the suspect had 6,09kg of gold which had not been legally and properly cleared with customs and relevant offices for export. This is a suspected smuggling case and police are now conducting investigations,” national police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said.

It is reported that at around midday yesterday, detectives from CID Minerals, Fauna and Flora Unit stationed at RGM Airport heard that Rushwaya intended to smuggle gold to Dubai and subsequently tracked her as she underwent check-in processes and other immigration formalities.

They then placed her under surveillance and alerted the CAAZ scanner operators to thoroughly examine her baggage.

Metals were detected in her hand luggage leading to a search in full view of CID Minerals Flora and Fauna Unit detectives and other stakeholders at the airport.

The recovered gold, Assistant Commissioner Nyathi said, would be taken for assay to determine quantity and value after which it would be sent to Fidelity Printers and Refiners for safekeeping.

As of Monday this week, a kilogramme of gold was fetching just above US$62 000 on the international market, meaning the contraband seized from Rushwaya was worth around US$372 000.

state media
additional reporting: Zwnews