Zimbabwe: $48m Mbanje Woman in Court

A VICTORIA Falls woman from whose house police recovered 481kg of mbanje, almost half a tonne, with a street value of more than $48 million, has appeared in court charged with unlawful possession of dagga.

Patricia Ncube (49) of Mkhosana suburb was arrested after police raided the house and recovered 14 by 50kg bags of mbanje, hidden in the bedroom.

There were also twists of mbanje that were found hidden in a container in the same house.

Ncube is suspected to have smuggled the dagga through an undesignated entry point along Zambezi River in the gorges in Chisuma.

The area, especially Gorge Number 23, is notorious for smuggling of goods including cement, groceries and agricultural inputs between Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Ncube was not asked to plead when she appeared before Victoria Falls magistrate Ms Linda Dzvene.

Her lawyer Mr Njabulo Ndlovu indicated that he will apply for bail this week and the magistrate remanded her in custody to May 11.

Prosecuting, Miss Audrey Mukanganya said police raided the house after getting a tip-off that Ncube was in possession of dagga at her house.

"On the 28th day of April at around 10am police detectives received information to the effect that the accused was in possession of dagga at her place of residence," she said. "Detectives and canine section officers teamed up and proceeded to the accused person's house."

Miss Mukanganya said the team surrounded the house and Ms Ncube came out of the bedroom.

Police introduced themselves to her and asked to search the house whereupon they recovered mbanje packed in sacks and plastic bags.

Twists of mbanje were also found in the house in a container.

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