Five arrested for smuggling

Five men appeared in court last week charged with attempting to smuggle 14, 625 kg of gold worth $620 848 through the Beitbridge Border Post.

Yaya Materiya (30), Dennis Tonny Kwendamawira (60), Timothy Makarimayi (49), Fungai Mashava (28) and Rashid Materiya (34) were also charged with attempting to bribe police detectives who intercepted their contraband.

The court heard the suspects offered $93 230 to the police to avoid arrest.

The suspects were arrested on Sunday after police officers from the Border Control and Minerals Unit received a tip-off and intercepted their vehicle, driven by Makarimayi and Mashava along the Harare-Masvingo Road on its way to South Africa.

It is alleged that the police conducted a search and recovered 39 smelted buttons of gold hidden in some improvised compartments in the car.

The suspects denied both charges when they appeared before magistrate Anita Tshuma. In his defence, Yaya told the court he only authorised the two to drive the vehicle and since he was blind, he was not aware there was gold in the car.

He also denied the attempted bribery charges while his co-accused said the Mercedes Benz belonged to their firm Norstein Trading.

The magistrate granted $1 000 bail to each of the suspects. They were remanded to June 27 and ordered to surrender title deeds of Yaya’s Avondale house as part of their bail conditions.

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