Zimbabwe Miners Federation President Released on Bail in Fraud Case

March 20, 2024
ZMF President Henrietta Rushwaya | Report Focus News
ZMF President Henrietta Rushwaya

Henrietta Rushwaya, the President of the Zimbabwe Miners Federation, was released on a US$500 bail on Wednesday, following her arrest over allegations of defrauding an Indian businessman out of US$1 million in a failed mine acquisition deal. The bail hearing, presided over by Harare Magistrate Stanford Mambanje, has set the next court appearance for May 10.

Rushwaya was arrested on Tuesday after accusations surfaced that she had engaged in a deceptive agreement with businessman Ashok Jain, promising him a lucrative mining claim in Zimbabwe that ultimately proved nonexistent. The charge against her has sparked a significant discussion on the practices within Zimbabwe’s mining sector, which is a critical component of the country’s economy.

The investigating officer, Rinaye Mateke, opposed the bail on grounds that Rushwaya could potentially interfere with the ongoing investigation, given her connections to the alleged accomplices, who are currently evading capture. However, Rushwaya’s defense, led by attorney Oliver Marwa, successfully argued for her release, stating that the case against her was fundamentally weak due to the lack of a written agreement between Rushwaya and Jain.

In court, the prosecution detailed how Rushwaya enticed Jain into investing in the defunct gold claim at Umupfurudzi Mine in Mashonaland Central province. Jain, who was looking to invest in Zimbabwe, was initially approached by Rushwaya in 2021 with promises of establishing a liquor distribution company, a distillery, and an ethanol plant, contingent upon his financial backing.

The case further unraveled as it was revealed that Rushwaya had allegedly demanded and received various sums from Jain, totaling US$615,000 under the guise of preparing for mining activities. In a dramatic twist, it is alleged that after accumulating a significant sum, Rushwaya then attempted to convince Jain to invest in another mining project, following a forged geologist’s report declaring the initial mine devoid of gold.

This incident has shed light on the broader issues of investment fraud within the Zimbabwean mining industry, often seen as a beacon for foreign investment in the country. As the case unfolds, it will undoubtedly attract attention from both local and international observers, keen on understanding the implications for future investment in Zimbabwe’s precious metal reserves.