Henrieta Rushwaya, the president of the Zimbabwe Miners Federation, avoided jail time after a High Court judge, Justice Pisirayi Kwenda, fined her US$5000 and sentenced her to 18 months in prison with a wholly suspended sentence after she was found guilty of trying to smuggle gold worth about US$300,000 to Dubai three years ago, Business Times can Report.
Six kilograms of gold were forfeited by the State.
Rushwaya refuted the accusations of smuggling, stating that she picked up the incorrect bag by accident at home.
However, Justice Kwenda rejected her defence and found her guilty.
She was told to pay the $5,000 fine, which is due on November 17, 2023, or risk spending a year in jail.
Giving his reasons, Justice Kwenda said: “We are dealing with the interest of justice. We are looking at the interest of society and the gravity of the crime committed.
Society has interest in the sentence because they expect those who commit crimes to be punished. If that person returns a hardened criminal, society does not benefit,” the judge said.
He said he took into account that Rushwaya has no previous conviction.
“We are satisfied that this offence was planned. There is no evidence to show that this offence was committed as part of an organised crime.
“We are of the view that a non custodial sentence of fine will be appropriate. She is a first offender and is recognised at law to be entitled to leniency. We are also giving weight to the fact that she is in trouble for a smuggling which did not succeed. She must be regretting the day she tried to smuggle.
The gold is hereby forfeited to the State in terms of Section 62 (1) (a) of the Criminal procedure,” the judge said.