A South African man has been sent to jail for six years, after he was caught red-handed attempting to smuggle $156 850 (about R1.946 million) from Cape Town to Dubai.
Muhammed Zakariyya Sheik Aboo was handed down a sentence at the Cape Town Regional Court after he was arrested on May 18, 2018 at the Cape Town International Airport.
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has welcomed the man’s conviction and arrest after he was found with the American dollars.
Aboo did not have permission granted by the Treasury for the amount of money he had.
Spokepserson for the NPA Eric Ntabazalila said an investigation was carried out by the South African Revenue Service (Sars), Customs officials at the airport and the South African Reserve Bank.
Aboo pleaded guilty to charges relating to the Exchange Control Regulations in that he had unlawfully taken foreign currency out of the country.
“The Cape Town Regional Court has sentenced Muhammad Zakariyya Sheik Aboo to six years imprisonment and he forfeited to the state R1.946m which he attempted to smuggle out of the country,” he said.
“Aboo, 23, was arrested as he tried to board a flight to Dubai from Cape Town International Airport.
“Customs officials searched his luggage and found American dollars hidden in envelopes in his luggage.
“He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to six years imprisonment with four years suspended for 5 years on condition that the accused is not found guilty of Contravention of Regulation 3(1)(a) of the Exchange Control Regulations.
“The Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) obtained a forfeiture order with regards to the money and it was paid into the SARS bank account.”
Ntabazalila added that Advocate Margot Jacobs told the court illicit money flows out of the country is a major problem which has a huge impact on the country’s economy.
“When foreign currency is illicitly transferred out of South Africa, the economy suffers and impacts negatively on growth and ultimately job creation.
“The offence is serious in the sense that it depletes South Africa’s foreign reserves which impacts our ability to continue trade and financial transactions with other countries,” Jacobs argued.
“The NPA welcomes the sentence and the order obtained by the AFU,” said Ntabazalila.