Zimbabwe president’s relation convicted of gold-smuggling

Henrietta Rushwaya, who is president of Zimbabwe Miner's Federation, was caught with bars weighing 6kg in 2020

A member of Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa‘s family has been convicted of trying to smuggle gold worth over US$330,000.

Henrietta Rushwaya, who is president of Zimbabwe Miner’s Federation, was caught with bars weighing 6kg in 2020.

She was travelling from Harare to Dubai when the contents of her handbag were picked up by the airport scanner.

Ms Rushwaya said she had picked up the wrong bag, but she was charged with presenting an invalid export licence.

All exports of gold must be accompanied by a permit.

Ms Rushwaya is not related by blood to Zimbabwe’s president but in the traditions of their Shona ethnic group, she is considered his niece.

She has been remanded into custody and awaits sentencing on 10 November.

Ms Rushwaya was charged alongside two agents from the country’s national intelligence agency, who were both acquitted due to lack of evidence.

Her conviction follows an undercover investigation by journalists from Al Jazeera.

They alleged that huge amounts of gold had been smuggled out of Zimbabwe to the United Arab Emirates by people with links to senior government officials.

They said networks of dormant companies, fake invoices and bribed officials were used.

Following the documentary the government announced it would be opening an investigation.

“Any person found to have engaged in acts of corruption, fraud or any form of crime, will face the full wrath of the law,” the statement read.

After coming to power in 2017 when the military staged a coup against long-time leader Robert Mugabe, President Mnangagwa vowed to tackle corruption.

He was re-elected for a second term with 52.6% of the vote a few months ago in an election which the opposition said was marred by widespread fraud.

His critics say little has changed since he became president.



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