Suspects arrested with gold bars worth R61 million at OR Tambo

Suspects arrested with gold bars worth R61 million at OR Tambo

- The SA Police Service has confirmed that it stumbled upon a virtual gold mine

- Gold bars worth R61 million were seized at OR Tambo International Airport

- The three suspected smugglers are set to appear in court on Monday

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The South African Police Service has confirmed that gold bars worth a staggering R61 million were seized at OR Tambo International Airport.

The three alleged smugglers are set to appear before the Kempton Park Magistrates' Court on charges of dealing with precious metal and contravention of the Customs Act.


The three suspects had flown to SA from Madagascar with the gold stashed in their luggage. Image: OJ Koloti/Gallo Images
Source: Getty Images

The gold, weighing 73.5kg, was discovered in the suspects' luggage at the airport according to the SAPS:

"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), South African Revenue Service (SARS) customs officials, Department of Health (Port Health officials) and officials from the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) pounced on the trio at the international arrival terminals."
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The three suspects had entered SA from Madagascar and were on their way to Dubai through Ethiopia when they were ultimately apprehended, according to the statement:

"Upon questioning of the suspects and further inspection of their hand luggage, officials discovered the gold bars and some foreign currency.
"Both the gold bars and foreign currency 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 SAPS confirmed that investigations are currently underway by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation with the help of Interpol to determine the legitimacy of the certification papers provided by the suspects.

The aim is to determine the country of origin where the gold was ultimately mined in addition to the final destination of the bars.

Meanwhile, reported that the South African Police Service says that the pandemic has taken an immense toll on its members.

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Amid the second wave of infections, spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo commented that:

“As of 31st December, we lost 340 members to this virus and that number is still growing. We’ve had members that have lost their lives over these past three days including this morning as well but we haven’t got the full and final stats as yet."

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