Police have widened investigations into the smuggling of 23 gold pieces worth US$783 000 by a Zimbabwean who was arrested in South Africa, and are waiting for a detailed report from Interpol officials based in Pretoria, which will be critical in assisting their inquiry.
This comes as Parliament has summoned Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister, Kazembe Kazembe, to give a ministerial statement on the security situation at the country’s ports of entry and exit following a surge in cases of smuggling which are prejudicing the country of millions of dollars.
Minister Kazembe was directed to issue the statement by Speaker of Parliament Advocate Jacob Mudenda after a request by Dzivaresekwa legislator, Mr Edwin Mushoriwa.
A suspect, Tashinga Nyasha Masinire (33), was found in possession of 23 pieces of gold allegedly smuggled from Zimbabwe.
He was arrested at OR Tambo International Airport on Sunday by South Africa’s anti-organised crime unit, the Hawks and is facing charges of contravening the Customs Act 91 of 1964 and Precious Metals Act 37 of 2005.
Masinire has since appeared in the Kempton Park regional court in Gauteng province and granted R100 000 bail and ordered to not leave the country until the matter has been finalised.
Masinire was also ordered to report at any nearest police station three times per week.
The matter was remanded to the July 1.
Ordinary citizens in Zimbabwe are concerned over the circumstances under which Masinire passed through security checkpoints at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport,
without declaring his luggage, only to be arrested in South Africa.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi told The Herald yesterday that they were determined to get to the bottom of the matter.
“It is something that we are currently seized with. We are presently waiting for a full report from Interpol offices in Pretoria. It is really a case of interest which the police are investigating.
“We want to know if he (Masinire) was alone by the time he got to the airport, was he under escort and did he declare the luggage or was the luggage with someone?” he said.
On arrival at OR Thambo International Airport, Masinire was requested to scan his luggage at the international arrivals customs section of the South African Revenue Service (SARS), and 23 pieces of gold were allegedly found in his luggage.
It was then established that he had not declared the goods and did not have a permit to transport the gold.
The Hawks were then called to effect the arrest. Masinire’s arrest comes about seven months after Zimbabwe Miners Federation president Henrietta Rushwaya was arrested at Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport with 6kg of gold worth US$366 destined for Dubai.
Rushwaya’s case is still before the courts.
Government has indicated its desire to fight corruption across all sectors of the economy but despite the many arrests in the recent past as the Second Republic intensifies the fight against graft, some officials at ports of entry and exit and in critical offices, continue to engage in the vice.
Several top ranking officials including ministers and permanent secretaries such as former ministers Obadiah Moyo and Prisca Mupfumira, have been arrested and appeared in court over corruption and their cases are at different stages. Herald