Henrietta Rushwaya’s airport bribery trial still ongoing

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    Keith T Mambo
    Keith T Mambo
    Keith T. Mambo is currently a reporter for ZiMetro News . He focuses on identity politics for The Southern Eye. He was previously a fellow at the UCT University of Cape Town for Political Science.

    Henrietta Rushwaya’s airport bribery trial still ongoing

    On the first day of Henrietta Rushwaya’s bribery trial on charges of attempting to bribe an X-Ray machine operator at Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport, the prosecution rested.

    The Zimbabwe Miners Federation boss denied bribery, and her lawyers asked Harare magistrate Learnmore Mapiye for her release, claiming Rushwaya was the victim of a “malicious arrest.”

    Mapiye will make a decision on the application on August 1.

    Rushwaya was detained at the airport on October 26, 2020, just before boarding a flight to Dubai, with a handbag containing 6kg of gold valued at US$333,000 at the time.

    She claimed she had picked the wrong handbag while rushing to the airport, despite having identical handbags.

    According to the National Prosecuting Authority, the former Zimbabwe Football Association CEO offered a bribe of $5,000 to Owen Sibanda, who was operating the X-Ray machine when it detected the gold.

    Rushwaya’s lawyer, Peter Patisani, said she would have to be stupid to put a bag through an X-Ray machine knowing it contained gold.

    “This was a malicious arrest. She asked the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe officials to accompany her home to collect the right bag which she intended to travel with, and they did not take up her offer,” the lawyer said.

    Patini said Sibanda testified that Rushwaya had offered him “5,000” but did not mention if this was currency.

    The lawyer stated that his client cannot be convicted because the court has no idea what Sibanda was referring to when he mentioned the number “5,000.”

    “The state has no idea what was offered.” Is it 5,000 stones or 5,000 cents, which remains an essential component of the alleged offence?” Patisani inquired.

    Rushwaya also claimed that she couldn’t have bribed Sibanda or his colleague Dzikamai Paradza because they were “junior.”

    Netsai Mushayabasa, the prosecutor, stated that they had proven their case beyond a reasonable doubt. The prosecutor insisted that the “5,000” mentioned by Sibanda was in US dollars.

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