Military linked to Rushwaya gold smuggling arrest as top cops, CIO agents arrested

HARARE – Two Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) agents and two senior police officers are among six people who have been arrested after being linked to the attempted smuggling of 6kg of gold by Zimbabwe Miners Federation president Henrietta Rushwaya on Monday.

Rushwaya, 53, will know on Friday if she will be getting bail after she was intercepted at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International with the gold bars worth US$333,000.

Following her arrest, she said the gold belonged to Ali Mohamad, the owner of car importer Japan 786.

Rushwaya and Mohamad appeared together on October 9 at a signing ceremony with mines minister Winston Chitando, where it was announced that Japan 786 would avail motor vehicles and mobile mining machinery to small scale miners on flexible payment terms to help ramp up gold production.

Mohamad is one of the six people who have been arrested, along with CIO agents Stephen Chenjerai Tserayi and Raphios Mufandauya as well as Gift Karanda who is accused of lying he was an intelligence officer. Also arrested are Detective Chief Inspector Paul Chimhungu and a Superintendent Shoko.

In a statement on Thursday, the ZRP said the six men would appear in court on Friday.

A court on Wednesday heard that Rushwaya was part of a large syndicate including state security agents and police officers, some of whom cleared her path as she finished check-in, immigration and customs formalities within four minutes, before she was pulled back from the departure lounge for a fresh scan of her hand luggage.

ZimMorningPost Thursday quoted an unnamed source that claimed Rushwaya had been arrested in an apparent sting operation by military intelligence operatives.

“One of the aides, Steven Tserayi, quickly accompanied her into the lobby before proceeding to the passport check point. Tserayi also ordered that the CCTV be briefly switched off and within a short period Rushwaya had completed all processes which normally take between 10 to 20 minutes,” the paper was told.

The source said Tserayi left Rushwaya assuming she would be free to proceed to the boarding lobby, unaware that military intelligence operatives were waiting for her and asked her what she was carrying in her hand luggage. It is unclear why the military operatives were present beyond the standard security points and why they singled out Rushwaya.

Rushwaya is said to have tried to call Tserayi back but he had already left for State House.

The source added: “After noticing that something had gone wrong, Tserayi refused to come back to the Airport. He even said he had never set foot at the airport on the day in question.”

Rushwaya, who is related to President Mnangagwa, left her role as ZIFA CEO in disgrace in 2010 after she was implicated in a match fixing scandal.

Rushwaya and several ZIFA officials were accused of fixing international matches involving the Zimbabwe national team between 2007 and 2009 while working with convicted Singaporean match fixer Wilson Raj Perumal.

The scandal, known as Asiagate, led to the suspension from football of several players and officials.

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