PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa is once again entangled in an illegal gold dealing scandal; this time round through his wife Auxillia and son Collins after one of the accused who assisted Zimbabwe Miners’ Federation (ZMF) boss Henrietta Rushwaya in an attempt to allegedly smuggle 6kgs of gold to Dubai claimed the contraband belonged to the First Lady and her son.
Documents say Rushwaya was allegedly assisted by a member of Mnangagwa’s close security, Stephen Chenjerai Tserayi (45) and a Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) operative based at Robert Mugabe International Airport, Raphios Mufandauya as well as Gift Karanda, from Rushwaya’s ZMF.
The involvement of Tserayi in the scandal, first broken by The NewsHawks, also brought the spotlight on Mnangagwa as he works at the heart of state security. Senior police officers, only identified as Superintendent Shoko and Detective Chief Inspector Chimhungu, were also arrested in connection with the matter alongside Ali Mohammed (52), who was implicated by Rushwaya as the owner of the gold.
The latest Mnangagwa entanglement in a gold scandal comes after he was also implicated in another issue 13 years ago. In 2003, Mnangagwa, then Speaker of Parliament, was accused of receiving ZW$8 million from an illegal gold miner.
The allegations surfaced when Mark Matthew Burden, accused of trading in gold without a licence, appeared before
the High Court. Owner of several licensed mining operations, including Ivan Hoe Mine
and eight gold custom mining plants, he was in court for illegally milling ore from small scale miners and panners in
Mnangagwa’s hometown, Kwekwe.
“Upon perusal of the bank documents, police discovered that the accused had made the following cheque payments to ED Mnangagwa.
“On September 17, 2003 the accused paid ED Mnangagwa Z$8-million using bank cheque 693803.
“When asked about these payments, which the police suspected to have been related to gold transactions, the accused could not satisfactorily explain,” the state said in the charge sheet. Mnangagwa’s name was later removed from the charge sheet. Burden was accused of milling gold ore from other registered miners, small-scale miners and gold panners around Kwekwe.
“The accused would then buy gold at parallel market rate after milling gold ore from various people.”
Detectives had earlier received information that Burden was buying gold at a price higher than the one offered by Fidelity Printers and Refiners, the sole official buyer of gold, implying therefore that he would not deliver to Fidelity.
“Hence, it was suspected that he was externalising the gold,” the charge sheet said.
More than 2 000kg of gold was discovered at Burden’s house. In the Rushwaya case, Karanda, the third accused person, implicated Auxillia and Collins.
“Accused three is being charged for defeating or obstructing the course of justice as defined in section 184 (1) of
the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, Chapter 9:23. Facts being that well knowing that accused one (Rushwaya) was under arrest, he approached the security officers alleging that the gold belonged to the First Lady and one Collins, son to the First Family who was supposed to have brought it but due to other commitments had requested accused one to transport it on his behalf,” documents read.
Mnangagwa’s spokesperson, George Charamba, said the resident could not speak on the matter as that may be viewed as interference with court processes currently underway.
“If the President is to open his mouth on the matter, it would seem as if he is interfering with the judiciary. Remember, there is a separation of powers. Why don’t we wait for processes to take place?” Charamba said.
Police spokesperson Paul Nyathi said he could not discuss the case as it is now before court. “We gave everything to the court for now, and I can only comment when we have something new, of which at this stage there is nothing new,” he said.