The South African Police Service (SAPS) managed to foil a plot to smuggle gold bars which were destined for Dubai and arrested the suspects.
The three smugglers are set to make an appearance before the Kempton Park Magistrates Court on charges of dealing with precious metal and contravention of the customs act. The gold, which weighed 73.5 kg was found in their hand luggage at the OR Tambo International Airport.
“Acting on information provided by security officials at the airport after a security scanner identified irregular images, a multi-disciplinary team consisting of the South African Police Service (SAPS), the South African Revenue Service(SARS) customs officials , the Department of Health(Port Health officials) and officials from the Department of Home Affairs(DHA)pounced on the trio at the international arrival terminals,” said SAPS spokesperson Colonel Athlenda Mathe in a statement.
While authorities have not clarified when this occurred, the trio had reportedly just flown in from Madagascar into South Africa and would soon board a flight to Ethiopia before finally landing in Dubai.
It remains uncertain where the gold bars originated, however law enforcement is working on cracking the case, with the help of customs officials.
“Upon questioning of the suspects and further inspection of their hand luggage, officials discovered the gold bars and some foreign currency,” Mathe further said.
The foreign currency, together with the gold have been seized for further investigation under the Customs and Excise Act and the Exchange Control Regulation.
“The suspects 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 (DPCI), also known as the Hawks have entered the fray and will be probing the matter, with help from Interpol. They will also look into the countries involved.
“Investigations are also underway by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation(DPCI) with the assistance of Interpol with authorities from various countries to determine the legitimacy of the certification papers as provided by the men and also to determine the country of origin where the gold was mined. Investigations will also focus on which country the gold bars were destined for,” Mathe further said.