A prosecutor in Zimbabwe has said the arrest of a mining boss for gold smuggling is part of a larger syndicate.
Henrietta Rushwaya, 53, the head of an artisanal miners’ association was arrested on Monday on her way to Dubai.
Police say airport scanners detected gold bars in her hand luggage, and they later recovered six kilogrammes of gold.
When Ms Rushwaya failed to produce the paperwork authorising the export, she was arrested.
She told police that she had received the gold from a licensed dealer in the capital, Harare.
Her lawyer told the BBC that Ms Rushwaya was innocent of the charges but did not elaborate.
“She denies that she smuggled or attempted to smuggle the gold out. We want a trial quickly so that she can clear her good name,” lawyer Tapson Dzvetero said.
The prosecution indicated it would carry out more arrests in connection with the case.
Zimbabwe has a thriving underworld of gold-smuggling cartels involving powerful politicians and “untouchables”.
The home affairs ministry reported in the state media recently that the country loses about $100m (£77m) every month to gold smuggling.
Authorities have said most of that gold ends up in Dubai. Gold is one of the country’s top export earners, generating about $1bn annually.
The state is opposing Ms Rushwaya’s bail application. The court will rule on Friday.