Zimbabwean Police have arrested at least four people in connection with a high profile gold smuggling case involving a relative of President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
The case began after 53-year-old Henrietta Rushwaya, who is the President of Zimbabwe Miners Federation, was arrested at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport while attempting to smuggle 6kg of gold in her handbag to Dubai.
The gold was said to be worth about $333,000.
Steven Tserayi, one of the president’s long-term aides, was detained with her, according to local reports, and has been sacked by the president, but not arrested.
The police in Zimbabwe have confirmed the arrest of at least four people in the case.
The four include Ali Mohammed of the car dealership Ali Japan 786, whom Rushwaya allegedly fingered as the source of the four gold bars found in her luggage; two security services officers – Steven Cherai and Rafius Mupandauya – who may have been involved in the attempt to get Rushwaya through the security checks with her gold; and Gift Karanda who national police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi last night said, when confirming the four arrests, had allegedly lied that he was a member of the Central Intelligence Organisation after he went to the airport to assist Rushwaya.
Rushwaya was arrested after airport scanners detected the gold. Police say she did not have the necessary export permits.
Ms Rushwaya, who appeared in court on Tuesday and is awaiting bail, denied the charges.
The prosecution believes that Ms Rushwaya is part of a wider smuggling ring.
Zimbabwe is a major gold producer, and in the past many smuggling rings have benefited from the protection of powerful politicians.