By Theresa Nkala
HARARE — Controversial former Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) chief executive, Henrietta Rushwaya, who left the football organisation under a cloud of theft, extortion, bribery, match-fixing and corruption allegations, was arrested yesterday afternoon at Robert Mugabe International Airport for allegedly trying to smuggle 6kg of gold.
In a tweet, the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) said, “The ZRP confirms the arrest of Henrietta Rushwaya at RGM Airport this afternoon after scanners at the airport checkpoint revealed the suspect had 6,09kg of gold which had not been legally and properly cleared by Customs and relevant offices for export. This is a suspected smuggling case and police are now conducting investigations.”
According to the police, they were tipped off that Rushwaya had gold in her hand luggage and they immediately alerted Civil Aviation Authority scanner operators who detected it.
Upon being asked, police said, Rushwaya told them she was acting on behalf of Ali “a licensed gold dealer operating from Alexandra Park in Harare”. Police said, she told them Ali had instructed her to take it to an unnamed person at Dubai Airport. She failed to supply export documentation for the gold, said the police. She was immediately arrested and will appear in court today (Tues).
Between 2007 and 2008, Rushwaya appeared in court facing allegations of stealing ZIFA money. She was also charged for allegedly attempting to defeat the course of justice after that trial was brought forward by two months, under questionable circumstances. Rushwaya, now the Miners Federation of Zimbabwe leader, was also accused of having organised a trip by the Zimbabwe national team to Malaysia on December 28, 2009 during which matches were said to have been fixed.
A probe into the scandal concluded she was the “core central point” of the scam which involved referees, players and journalists. On the tour, Zimbabwe lost 3-0 to Thailand; beat Malaysian champions Selangor 3-0, before losing 6-0 to Syria.
She was arrested in February 2012, by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission on allegations of bribery and match-fixing linked to the scandal, dubbed Asiagate. She appeared in court facing 11 counts of concealing transactions from a principal, two counts of fraud and 15 others of bribery involving US$1 million.
In August 2014, Rushwaya was also arrested for allegedly trying to extort thousands of dollars from Prophetic Healing Deliverance Ministries leader Walter Magaya after he complained to the police.
FULL POLICE MEMO BELOW
ARREST OF HENREATTA RUSHWAYA FOR SMUGGLING GOLD TO DUBAI
This memorandum serves to put on record the arrest of the following accused for smuggling of gold:
Name Henreatta Rushwaya
Age 53 years
Res 1 Garlake Close, Gunhill, Harare
Bus Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF-President)
Charge: C/S 182 of the Customs and Exercise Act Chapter 23:02 “SMUGGLING”
Place Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport, Harare
Quantity approximately 6kg of gold.
On 26 October 2020, infornation was received by detectives from CID MFFU Harare Airport to the effect that the accused intended to smuggle gold to Dubai through the Airport.
The detectives identified the accused as she commenced check in processes and immigration formalities. The detectives immediately alerted the Civil Aviation authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) scanner operators to thoroughly examine the accused’s bag.
Gold was detected by the scanner in the accused’s bag which formed part of her hand luggage. The bag was searched in the presence of the accused by CID MFFU detectives whilst other stakeholders at the Airport witnessed the search. A total of approximately 6kg of gold whose value is yet to be determined was recovered stashed in the accused’s personal luggage in her bag.
The accused was questioned about the origin of the gold and she indicated that she obtained it from one only identified as Ali of number 32 Lanark Road, Alexandra Park, Harare. She indicated that Ali is a licenced gold buyer using the name Ali Japan 786 Private Limited. She alleged that she had been instructed by Ali to leave the gold to an unidentified person at Dubai Airport.
The accused was asked to supply export documents in respect of the gold and she failed leading to her arrest.
The recovered gold will be taken for assay to determine quantity and value. It will be lodged at Fidelity Printers and Refiners for safekeeping.
The accused will be taken to Harare Magistrate Court on 27 October 2020.
CID MFFU Harare DR refers.
Criminal Investigation Department
26 October 2020