Henrietta Rushwaya’s trial on allegations of bribing a Zimbabwe Civil Aviation Authority employee US$5 000 to pass security check points at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport with gold opened today at the Harare Magistrates Court.

Rushwaya was arrested at the Airport in Harare while checking in to board a flight to Dubai with 6kgs of gold.

The gold was allegedly found in her hand luggage, and she failed to supply the necessary gold export approval documents.

Meanwhile, the volumes of gold being delivered to Zimbabwe’s sole gold-buying unit, Fidelity Printers and Refiners (FPR), an arm of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (the central bank), declined to 14.8 tonnes in the first nine months of 2020, down from 20.6 tonnes in the same period of 2019.

Despite soaring prices over the year to date, production has declined in Zimbabwe as policies relating to the retention of foreign-exchange earnings constrain companies’ operations.

In addition, smuggling is weighing on official figures.

Zimbabwe loses millions of dollars in potential export revenue owing to smuggling.

To make matters worse most of those into minerals smuggling are politically connected, hence making it hard to bring them to book.