Asset Forfeiture Unit nabs smugglers with R76.7 million cash in Mpumalanga
The National Prosecuting Authority's (NPA) believes that the R76.7 million cash that was confiscated from suspected smugglers driving a bakkie from Mozambique into South Africa could have been headed for the Middle East.
NPA spokesperson, Luvuyo Mfaku, said the authority's Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) has already seized the R76,725,714 and a Toyota Hilux Double Cab pick-up vehicle believed to have been used in the smuggling of the cash after obtaining a preservation of property order in the Pretoria High Court last week.
Two men, Faizal Assane, 50, and Ahmed Abdulla, 38, recently appeared in the Barberton Magistrate's Court on charges of money laundering, fraud and possession of suspected stolen property.
“The cash appears to have been destined for the Middle East via the Oliver Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg,” said Mfaku.
He said the seizure was the result of a joint multi-agency investigation between the South African Revenue Services’ Customs and Excise Division, the Hawks and the AFU.
The two men were arrested during a joint operation at the Lebombo Border post last Christmas Day.
They were allegedly arrested in possession of the pile of cash, which reportedly took police more than five hours to count.
Mfaku said Assane had 11 Mozambican passports while Abdulla had five.
“The facts of the case are consistent with a particular modus operandi that is adopted by suspects who smuggle illicit bulk cash in and through South Africa and out of the country from, in particular, the OR Tambo International Airport,” said Mfaku.
Mabetwa postponed the case to May 27 while police investigate the case.
The two have to report to the Boksburg police station once a week. They are allowed to leave their residence between 06:00 and 20:00 and leave Gauteng on prior arrangement with the investigating officer.
- African Eye News Service