CONTROVERSIAL ZIMBABWE business woman Henrietta Rushwaya has threatened a local publication with a US$1 million lawsuit after she was linked with a Zimbabwean gold smuggler who was nabbed in South Africa with gold worth R11 million.
This comes after weekly publication, The News Hawks alleged that gold smuggler Tashinga Nyasha Masinire is still Rushwaya’s driver. Masinire was intercepted at the OR Tambo International Airport on Sunday with gold bars worth US$700 000.
She is reported to have made attempts through third parties to have the allegation retracted by the publication. After that failed to work, she is reported to have threatened the publication with a US$1 million lawsuit unless the tweet about Masinire being her driver is retracted within 24 hours.
The News Hawks said,
In one of the quickest demands for a retraction ever seen in media, Zimbabwe Miners Federation president has unleashed her lawyers on The NewsHawks for posting that Tashinga Nyasha Masinire, arrested in Joburg for trying to smuggle gold, is her aide/driver. She says he has left.
Rushwaya admits working to with Masinire before, but says he left last August; two months before she was arrested for trying to smuggle gold to Dubai.
Rushwaya sprung into action soon after the first tweet, initially acting through some journalists acting as middlemen, then directly and finally through her lawyers, trying to get the tweet pulled down.
She wants a retraction within 24 hours or US$1m for alleged defamation.
The NewsHawks gave Rushwaya an opportunity to respond immediately, which is the professional, impartial and ethical thing to do.
It is not clear if the publication will cave into Rushwaya’s demand in order to avoid the US$1 million lawsuit.
Masinire was granted R100 000 bail by a Kempton Park Regional Court, in Gauteng province. The 33-year-old was ordered to remain in South Africa while the elite police unit, the Hawks, continues its investigation into the gold which was found hidden inside a Red Label whisky container which he carried in his hand luggage.
Rushwaya also released a statement in which she denied any links to Masinire or the botched smuggling operation.
“I clearly and categorically state that Tashinga Masinire was, as of last Saturday, and since last year, not working for me or the federation.
“…The last I heard was that he was now living in Borrowdale Brooke with someone he said was his brother. I have absolutely no idea how Tashinga got into this situation, my only crime is that I’m his ex-employer. It’s a classic case of your ex becoming pregnant, and you being blamed.”