Gold smuggling suspects appear in Joburg court
Cape Town - The case of the three foreign gold smugglers who were apprehended at OR Tambo international Airport on December 31, 2020 for attempting to smuggle gold worth R61 million has been postponed to January 12, 2021.
This as the South African security services have extended their investigative efforts to other countries where the suspects had recently travelled to.
According to a police statement, the three suspects had just flown into South Africa from Madagascar and were en-route to Dubai via Ethiopia when they were apprehended at customs, after security officials at the airport flagged the trio and their luggage, when a security scanner identified irregular images in their luggage.
Officials seized gold bars weighing 73.5kg, along with foreign currency.
National police spokesperson Athlenda Mathe said while the suspects had appeared in the Kempton Park Magistrate’s court on Monday morning on charges of illegal dealing in precious metals and contravention of the Customs Act, there was a strong possibility that additional charges would be laid against them.
Mathe said: “We can confirm the three suspects appeared before the Kempton Park Magistrate’s Court on charges of illegal dealing in precious metals and contravention of the Customs Act. There is a possibility that money laundering and fraud charges will be brought forward against the three suspects at a later stage.
“While investigations continue, the Hawks through Interpol is in talks with authorities in Madagascar, Dubai and Ethiopia to establish where this gold originates from and where it was destined for. The suspects will remain in custody until their next court appearance and formal bail hearing.”