Three suspected smugglers are expected to appear in the Kempton Park magistrate’s court on Monday on charges of dealing in precious metal after gold weighing 73.5kg was found in their hand luggage at Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport.
Police estimated the gold had a street value of R61m.
A multi-disciplinary team consisting of police, custom officials, port health and home affairs officials pounced on the trio in the international arrivals terminal last week.
They had arrived in SA from Madagascar and were en route to Dubai via Ethiopia when they were apprehended.
“Upon questioning the suspects and further inspection of their hand luggage, officials discovered the gold bars and foreign currency,” police said.
The gold bars and foreign currency were seized for further investigation under the customs and excise act and exchange control regulations.
The Hawks, Interpol and authorities from different countries are investigating the legitimacy of certification papers provided by the men, and are determining the country of origin where the gold was mined.