Rushwaya fined $5000 for attempted gold smuggling
Harare (New Ziana) – The High Court on Wednesday fined Henrietta Rushwaya US$5 000 for attempted gold smuggling, in a case that drew huge public interest.
Alternatively, if she failed to pay the fine, Justice Pisirai Kwenda slapped Rushwaya with a 12-month jail term for the offence.
Rushwaya, a high-profile businesswoman, was arrested in 2020 at the airport after six kilogrammes of gold was found in her luggage as she attempted to bound a flight to Dubai.
She denied she had attempted to smuggle the gold, worth US$330 000, out of the country, and claimed instead that she had mixed bags at home.
But the court convicted Rushwaya due to overwhelming evidence presented by the state.
In passing what is widely considered a light sentence, Justice Kwenda said the court had considered that Rushwaya was a first offender, and that she had not benefited from the crime.
In addition, he said the court had also taken into account that she was a woman, fairly old and her business had suffered reputational damage.
The state had argued for a deterrent sentence due to the seriousness of the offence, which is reportedly rampant in the country.
The gold will be forfeited to the state.