Henrietta Rushwaya who has been lodged at Chikurubi female Prison since October 27 has been granted Z$100 000 bail after Harare magistrate Ngoni Nduna acceded to her bail application which presented changed circumstances.
Rushwaya was ordered to deposit Z$100 000 bail, barred her from travelling nearer than 20km to any border and reside at Number 1 Garlake close, Gunhill, Harare until the matter is finalised.
She was arrested in October at Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport when four bars of gold weighing 6kg were found in her possession en-route to Dubai.
She appeared before Magistrate Nduna at Harare Magistrates Court facing one count of Smuggling and one count of Bribery and Dealing in and Possession of gold without being a holder of a licence or permit.
She made an application for bail pending trial, and the application was dismissed and she subsequently appealed against the decision of Nduna on the 17th of November 2020 at the High Court, and the appeal was not successful.
Through her lawyers, Rushwaya made another application, arguing changed circumstances of facts which were not placed before magistrate Nduna.
The first circumstance was that the government has pronounced a new statutory instrument S.I. 10 of 2021, which effectively imposes a national lockdown, whose import is that it restricts movement of people and such measures are enforced by law enforcement personnel in the country.
The imposition of the national lockdown will ensure that the applicant will not freely move, and thereby the risk of abscondment is curtailed, she argued.
The second change circumstance after the determination of the initial bail application was that the Police have conducted investigations in respect of the applicant’s sole plausible defence.
“The applicant during the bail proceedings averred that her sole plausible defence to the charge of smuggling was that she had mistakenly taken the wrong bag to the airport, which bag contained the gold instead of the ones which had her personal utensils and belongings which she left at home,” she argued.
“The police did not endeavor to investigate this issue for the whole lengthy duration of the bail proceedings up to the determination, but however, the police have since acted on the applicant’s plausible defence by removing the applicant from remand prison on the 9th of December 2020 after the determination on bail had since been made, and proceeded with her to her homestead where they indicated that they needed to see the bag she had mentioned in court during the bail proceedings as the bag she had mistakenly left at home instead of the one carrying the gold, and she proceeded to show them the said bag.”
Rushwaya also argued that her health had deteriorated.
“The third circumstance is that the Applicant’s state of health has deteriorated as she is currently unwell in prison,” he lawyers argued.
“When the initial proceedings were conducted, the applicant was fit healthwise, however she has suddenly developed illness with symptoms that are ranging, and currently suspected to be a potential case of Covid-19, and therefore she requires immediate and specialist healthcare to properly ascertain what she may potentially be suffering from.”