Accused gold smuggler Henrietta Rushwaya has been granted $100 000 bail coupled with movement restrictions.
Rushwaya’s trial is likely to open as soon as the courts resume normal operations when the risk of Covid-19 infection recedes. Investigators yesterday said they had completed their work.
She will be tried on charges of gold smuggling, illegal possession of gold and bribery arising from her arrest on October 26 last year at Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport when four bars of gold weighing 6kg were found in her possession en-route to Dubai.
She is jointly charged with businessman Ali Muhammad and two security officers accused of helping her through the VIP route at the airport.
Rushwaya applied again for bail on the grounds of changed circumstances among them the tighter Level Four national lockdown that makes it very difficult for her to travel.
She also argued that her health has been poor in remand prison and she may have Covid-19.
Although the State continued to oppose bail, citing the risk that she might abscond, Harare magistrate Mr Ngoni Nduna agreed her circumstances had changed and granted her new application.
He ordered her to deposit $100 000 bail, barred her from travelling nearer than 20km to any border, and ordered her to report three times a week at a police station until January 31, before reporting weekly on Wednesdays from February.
In response to Rushwaya’s application, Mr Charles Muchemwa for the State, announced that the prosecution was now ready to proceed with trial as soon as the Covid-19 restrictions were sufficiently lifted.
At present, the courts are only handling remands, bail matters and urgent applications.
“Investigations in the matter have sufficiently progressed well. The accused’s bribery allegations are now ready for trial. The State is just awaiting for the Covid-19 restrictions (to be lifted) so that as soon as it is permissible to hold trial, we proceed to trial.
“We have also covered sufficient ground in the investigation of the smuggling case and the case involving the unlawful possession of gold cases.”
Mr Muchemwa said the State has established the link between Rushwaya and Ali Muhammad, whom she is jointly charged with, and that the State had a strong case against her, which warrants her detention pending trial.