POLICE Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga has narrated how gold smuggler, Tashinga Nyasha Masinire, recently sneaked out of the country with 14 kilogrammes of gold through the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport only to be arrested by more alert security officials in South Africa.
Masinire was arrested by South African law enforcement agents at the O.R International Airport. He was en route to Dubai with the loot valued at over US$800 000.
Matanga and Home Affairs Ministry secretary Aaron Nhepera were appearing before joint parliamentary portfolio committees on Mines and Mining Development; Defence, and Home Affairs.
The police boss tried to be cautious in his identity of the gold smuggling syndicate led by a “Mr Hunde” who assisted Masinire to sneak out with the loot.
The implicated law enforcement agent has since been arrested and is in remand prison.
However, he is widely reported to be an operative of the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) based at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport and his other aliases are; Chamakandiona Nyahunde or Vincent Moyo.
Matanga said on the day the gold was intercepted in South Africa, Nyahunde was not on duty, but pitched up at the airport solely to help Masinire smuggle the gold out of the country.
“It was after the arrest of Mr Masinire in South Africa by the South African Hawks when the communication came to us through Interpol that some 14 kilogrammes of gold were intercepted at O.R Tambo in Johannesburg,” he told the MPs.
“Having received that information, our CID (Central Intelligence Department) officials went to the airport and obviously made it possible to identify who was involved on our side of the border.
“This was done through the CCTV. Having gone through the CCTV, it was very clear that Mr Masinire on that particular morning went through the airport clearance processes without any problems. We also discovered that he was also holding on to an empty bag.
“After all the clearances, he went to the smoking-room. And as he was going to the smoking-room, one of our officers Mr Hunde, went into the airport, maybe people thought he was on duty. But he is the man who was carrying the 14 kilogrammes of gold using the arrival route, which is not allowed in normal circumstances.”
Matanga: “As he got into the airport, he also went into the smoking-room where the transaction took only two minutes. After two minutes Mr Hunde walked out of the smoking-room and Mr Masinire, his bag looking full, as someone who had all the clearances in place, walked out straight into the aircraft bound for Johannesburg.”
Masinire, who is now facing, charges of contravening the Customs Act 91 of 1964 and Precious Metals Act 37 of 2005 respectively, was granted R100 000 bail with stringent conditions – not to leave South Africa and to report at the nearest South African Police Station (SAPS) three times per week.
He was remanded to 1 July.