Henrietta Rushwaya has approached the High Court challenging the magistrates’ court decision to deny her bail on charges of attempting to smuggle gold to Dubai after four gold bars weighing 6kg were found in her baggage as she was leaving.
Rushwaya, who was arrested at Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport late last month, is facing two more charges of attempting to bribe police officers with US$5 000 and unlawful possession of gold.
Through her lawyer, Mr Tapson Dzvetero, Rushwaya wants the High Court to set aside the decision of the lower court, arguing that magistrate Mr Ngoni Nduna misdirected himself in holding that she was unsuitable for bail.
Although Rushwaya claimed to have huge investments and other interests in the country, Mr Nduna ruled she was a flight risk given her connections with the outside world, access to means to leave, and the strong State case against her that if proven would almost certainly result in a prison term.
In the High Court application Mr Dzvetero argued that the presumption of innocence works in favour of his client since he saw glaring weaknesses in the State’s case.
“The learned magistrate erred and grossly misdirected himself in concluding that the applicant has connections outside Zimbabwe when no evidence was placed before him to justify that position.
“The learned magistrate misdirected himself when he concluded that the applicant would interfere with witnesses and investigations when the state failed to provide cogent reasons and dismally failed to demonstrate how the accused would interfere.”
Mr Dzvetero said his client interests are in this country, and as such nothing can induce her to flee.
Rushwaya is being jointly charged with a Pakistan national Ali Mohammed, who is out of custody on a $100 000 bail.
Her other co-accused are CIO officers Raphios Mufandauya and Steven Tserayi and one of her subordinates at the Zimbabwe Miners Federaton, Gift Karanda.
All except Mohammed were denied bail in the lower remand court.
The State is yet to file its response to the bail appeal.
Charges against Rushwaya arose on October 26, when detectives from CID Minerals, Fauna and Flora Unit stationed at RGM Airport heard that Rushwaya intended to smuggle gold to Dubai.
They tracked her as she underwent check-in processes and other immigration formalities. Detectives placed her under surveillance and alerted the CAAZ scanner operators to thoroughly examine her baggage.
Metals were detected in her hand luggage leading to a search in full view of CID Minerals Flora and Fauna Unit detectives and other stakeholders at the airport.
Rushwaya was found in possession of 6kg of gold worth around US$372 000.