A member of the president of Zimbabwe Emmerson Mnangagwa’s family have been convicted of attempting to smuggle gold worth more than $330,000 (£272,000).
Henrietta Rushwaya, president of the Zimbabwe Miners’ Federation, was caught with bars weighing 6kg in 2020.
She was traveling from Harare to Dubai when the airport scanner detected the contents of her bag.
Rushwaya said she had picked up the wrong suitcase, but was charged with presenting an invalid export licence.
All gold exports must be accompanied by a permit.
Rushwaya is not related by blood to the president of Zimbabwe, but according to the traditions of her Shona ethnic group, she is considered his niece.
He is in preventive detention and awaits sentencing on November 10.
Rushwaya was charged along with two agents from the country’s national intelligence agency, who were acquitted for lack of evidence.
His conviction follows an undercover investigation by Al Jazeera journalists.
They allege that people with links to senior government officials had smuggled huge amounts of gold from Zimbabwe to the United Arab Emirates.
They said networks of dormant companies, fake invoices and bribed officials were used.
After the documentary, the government announced that it would open an investigation.
«Anyone found to have engaged in corruption, fraud or any form of crime will face the full wrath of the law,» the statement read.
After coming to power in 2017, when the military staged a coup against leader Robert Mugabe, President Mnangagwa promised to tackle corruption.
He was re-elected for a second term with 52.6% of the vote a few months ago in an election that the opposition said was marred by widespread fraud.
His critics say little has changed since he took office.
Correction: This story has been amended to reflect that Henrietta Rushwaya is not a blood relative of President Mnangagwa, but, in the traditions of Zimbabwe’s Shona culture, she is considered his niece.