Police seize gold bars worth R61m at OR Tambo Airport
A concerted effort between the police, SARS and Home Affairs customs officials led to the arrest of three suspects who were caught allegedly trying to smuggle a bag full of gold bars at the OR Tambo International Airport.
Gold bars confiscated at OR Tambo International Airport
As reported by EWN, alarm bells rang off at the airport’s international arrivals section when security scanners picked up on unusual items concealed in one of the suspect’s bags.
Upon further inspection, a heap of gold bars, weighing in at 73.5kg, were found in the hand luggage, along with an unknown amount in foreign currency.
Flight records show that the suspects were en route to Dubai, from Madagascar. From South Africa, the trio would have made a stop in Ethiopia before disembarking in the United Arab Emirates.
Interpol working with Hawks to trace origins of this gold
From what we know, soon after the arrest, the suspects were able to furnish certificates for the gold. However, this was not satisfactory, according to local authorities.
A few things must be determined like, which country the gold was mined from, the package’s intended destination and of course, the legitimacy of the certification documents.
With the discovery of the smuggled goods worth R61 million and further suspicion of trafficking, the three suspects — who remain unnamed at this time — have been arrested and charged with dealing in precious metal and contravention of the Customs Act.
For the duration of the judicial process, the items confiscated by OR Tambo’s customs will be held under South Africa’s Customs and Excise Act.
From what we understand, the investigation into the movement of the precious metals has become the priority of the Hawks, who are working in tandem with Interpol to trace the origins and intended use of the gold bars.
The three suspects, on the other hand, are expected to make their first appearance at the Kempton Park Magistrates Court, on Monday.