CONNECTED syndicates linked to Zimbabwe Miners’ Federation president Henrietta Rushwaya (pictured) are plundering rich gold fields in Mazowe, a fresh report has revealed.
Mazowe is located about 50km from Harare in Mashonaland Central province and has largely been one of the gold-rich areas in Zimbabwe.
The vast Mazowe gold fields have several mines, with the parent one being Mazowe Mine owned by Metallon Corporation Ltd.
Mazowe Mine comprises of Jumbo Mine but is currently under care and maintenance after Metallon Corporation was forced to close its mines in 2018 due to “unsustainable costs of running them without proper compensation for its proceeds from the government of Zimbabwe.”
The mine has 247 claims covering 2 939 hactares.
However, a fresh report by the Centre for Natural Resource Governance (CNRG) titled “Zimbabwe’s Disappearing gold: a Case of Penhalonga and Mazowe” implicated Rushwaya in illicit leakages of the mineral derived from her sponsorship of rogue gold barons and artisanal miners.
“In Mazowe, there are systematically organised networks of actors, from miners to buyers, forming a conglomeration of activities on one site. Although the entire mining field belongs to Mazowe Mine, each site has a ‘manager’ to which these actors register and get approval and space to carry out their operations,” reads part of the report.
The investigations leading to production of the report found out that Rushwaya was fronting a gold baron called Kedah to mop up gold.
“A man known as Kedah is the main buyer in Mazowe. He mops up gold from artisanal miners. He buys at US$55 per gramme. Kedah, whose real identity remains a mystery, has established offices in most artisanal mining sites around Mazowe. Kedah is said to be using three names: Crispen, Rungano and Fungai Mafara. He has set up offices in Matola area, New Stands in Mazowe residential area and Masase artisanal mining site.”
“Artisanal miners in Masase told CNRG that Kedah took advantage of the mine closure and appropriated large portions of land and sponsored some miners who sell the gold to him. He has also set up several bush gold-milling machines with several improvised elution pits. Kedah is said to be working with Henrietta Rushwaya,” reads the report.
In October 2020, Rushwaya was arrested at Robert Mugabe International airport trying to smuggle six kilogrammes of gold worth US$366 000 to Dubai.
The case also sucked in Pakistani business tycoon Ali Muhamad, Central Intelligence Organisation officers Stephen Tserayi and Raphios Mufandauya as well as miner Gift Karanda.
Rushwaya admitted that the gold belonged to her, but said she had picked the wrong bag with the bars instead of the one with her clothes when she went to the airport.
The case is pending at the courts, but concerns are that it will fizzle out because of her political connections after it emerged she is the niece of President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
In May 2021, Tashinga Nyasha Masinire was arrested by South African Police at OR Tambo International Airport with gold worth R11 million (US$650 000). Masinire is Rushwaya’s former driver.
CNRG in its report said “the two cases might be a tip of an iceberg pointing to organised crime on a massive scale. It indicates the accused were acting in concert with airport officials and with approval of powerful government officials”
The CNRG report also revealed that not all gold bought by Rushwaya’s ally Kedah goes to Fidelity Printers and Refineries (FPR) Ltd.
“Whilst Kedah is said to be linked to some political heavyweights in the ruling party, CNRG could not establish these individuals. According to artisanal miners, Kedah supplies FPR, while others intimated that not all gold that goes to Kedah, let alone other buyers, finds its way to FPR.”
“The informal nature of the operations of Kedah makes it impossible for FPR to trace whether all the gold he acquires is remitted. The acquisition of a gold buying licence is largely a cover to mop up gold for resale on more lucrative international markets.”
“Most of these buyers remit a bare minimum to FPR to justify the continued renewal of the licence whilst diverting the bulk to lucrative international markets. The licenses are also a guise to divert and justify gold possession to law enforcement agents,” reads the report.
Simiso Mlevu, the CNRG media liaison officer, told The NewsHawks that during the organisation’s investigations, they failed to locate the licence that Rushwaya was using to buy gold in Mazowe.
She said that her pending case in court provided a glimpse into how the ZMF leader handles gold.
Contacted for comment, Rushwaya did not respond to questions.