Transnational car dealers, Ali Japan 786, have been fingered in a suspected gold smuggling racket exposed yesterday following the arrest of Zimbabwe Miners Federation president Henrieta Rushwaya at Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport where she was found with 6kg of the precious mineral destined for Dubai.
Rushwaya (53), a former Zimbabwe Football Association chief executive officer, did not have supporting documents for the export of the gold, leading to her arrest.
She is expected to appear in court today on charges of attempting to smuggle and illegal possession of precious minerals.
Rushwaya told the arresting Criminal Invesigation Department (CID) detectives that she was carrying the gold on behalf of one Ali Mahommed, of the car dealership Ali Japan 786, and had been instructed to hand it over to a contact in Dubai.
Rushwaya said she obtained the gold from Ali at No.32 Lanark Road, Belgravia, Harare. She claimed Ali was a licensed gold buyer using the name Ali Japan 786 Private Limited.
Ali Japan 786 is a company involved in buying and selling of second hand vehicles in several countries.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) scanners at the airport checkpoint indicated that there was something in her hand luggage.
“As a result searches revealed that the suspect had 6.09kg of gold which had not been legally and properly cleared with customs and relevant offices for export. This is a suspected smuggling case and police are now conducting investigations.”
Reports are that at around midday yesterday, detectives from CID Minerals, Fauna and Flora Unit stationed at RGM Airport heard that Rushwaya intended to smuggle gold to Dubai.
They tracked her as she underwent check-in processes and other immigration formalities.
Detectives placed her under
surveillance and alerted the CAAZ scanner operators to thoroughly examine her baggage.
Metals were detected in her hand luggage leading to a search in full view of CID Minerals Flora and Fauna Unit detectives and other stakeholders at the airport.
Police said the recovered gold would be taken for assay to determine quantity and value after which it would be sent to Fidelity Printers and Refiners for safekeeping.
A kilogramme of gold was yesterday fetching just above US$62 000 on the international market, meaning the contraband seized from Rushwaya was worth around US$372 000.