File picture: Yuriko Nakao/ Reuters
File picture: Yuriko Nakao/ Reuters

Three bust with gold bars worth R61m, foreign currency at OR Tambo

By IOL Reporter Time of article published Jan 4, 2021

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Johannesburg - Authorities have arrested three suspected smugglers after 73.5kg of gold as well as foreign currency were found in their hand luggage at the OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg.

The trio had flown into South Africa from Madagascar and were en-route to Dubai via Ethiopia last week when they were apprehended, the SAPS said.

Airport officials alerted authorities after a security scanner identified irregular images. A multidisciplinary team including the SAPS and the South African Revenue Service customs officials pounced on the trio at the international arrival terminals.

Officials, on further questioning and inspection of the suspects’ hand luggage, discovered the gold bars, worth R61 million, and some foreign currency.

The trio have been detained and the matter has been taken over by the SAPS Organised Crime unit for criminal investigations.

The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, with the assistance of Interpol, has launched a probe to determine the legitimacy of the certification papers as provided by the suspects and to determine the country of origin where the gold was mined. Investigations will also focus on which country the gold bars were destined for.

The suspects are expected to appear in the Kempton Park Magistrate’s Court on charges of dealing in precious metal and contravention of the customs act.

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