Zimbabwe’s First Lady, Auxillia Mnangagwa, has denied links to gold smuggling and challenged police to produce “any incriminating evidence” against her.
The first lady also denied illegal dealings with Henrietta Rushwaya – a suspect in a high profile gold-smuggling case who was arrested last Monday while carrying six kilogrammes of gold in her hand luggage at Harare International Airport as she was travelling to Dubai.
Police said Ms Rushwaya did not have the necessary export permits, but she denied the charges in court and is awaiting a ruling on her bail application.
Mrs Mnangagwa also absolved her son from links to gold smuggling.
“It pains me that my son who is hard working and an obedient son, is being attacked for no reason other than being a member of the first family. He is a hard working person and strives to improve himself day by day,” she said.
Zimbabwe’s Secretary for Information, Nick Mangwana, has said police investigations had found claims linking the president’s family to gold smuggling to be “false and intended to intimidate law enforcement agencies”.
Zimbabwe is a major gold producer, and in the past many smuggling rings have benefited from the protection of powerful politicians.