Zanzibar Police Arrest Suspected Gold, Currency Smuggler

Zanzibar’s Karume International Airport Check-in Section (Internet File Photo)

By TZ Business News Staff.


Airport security in Zanzibar scored a goal the last week of November 2017.  Tanzanian businessman Nawshad Mohammed Suleiman was caught attempting to smuggle out of the country some eight (8) Kilograms of gold  and an assortment of foreign currency from the Zanzibar international airport.

The Zanzibar Acting Commissioner of Police Juma Yusuf told reporters in Zanzibar the businessman was also found in possession of foreign currency from 15 nations including USD 233,422 and 57,595 Euros.


Zanzibar Acting Commissioner of Police Juma Yusuf.

Nawshad Mohammed Suleiman was arrested at 9.00 PM on Wednesday, November 29, 2017 at Karume International Airport as he prepared to fly out to Dubai Yusuf told reporters. The arrest comes in the wake of  a declared economic war in which security organs are ordered on high alert.

The new security dispensation compares to years of lose control in the past when everything from diamonds to Tanzanites, from Gold to wildlife  animals  passed through airports  as if there was no border control.

The plague Tanzania has known for decades of minerals smuggling was in 2014 reported  under  Government scrutiny, but anti-smuggling agencies  have kept silent on  two cases involving 270 kilograms of gold and 2 tons of uranium smuggled out of the country through the Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar es Salaam by use of  fake export permits although the  suspects are known to authorities in the country.

Nawshad Mohammed Suleiman – Sitting: (Internet File Photo).

Police in Zanzibar are holding Nawshad Mohammed Suleiman for questioning  to determine whether the  gold and foreign currency was about to be exported legally Yusuf told reporters.

The Tanzania Minister of Finance and Planning, Dr. Philip Mpango  recently published regulations ordering declaration of cash at entry and exit points around the country.

The newly introduced Cross-border Declaration of Currency and Bearer Negotiable Instruments Regulations, force everybody entering or leaving the country to declare hard cash or financial instruments in efforts to stem out capital flight and mitigate financing of terrorism in the country, according to Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) Commissioner, Mr. Onesmo Makombe.

Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) announced “with effect from 1st October, 2017, any physical transportation of currency and bearer negotiable instruments equal to or above the prescribed amount [which is USD10,000] shall be declared by filling declaration forms Issued by Customs Officers at entry or exit points.

Non declaration or false declaration of the prescribed amount is an offence punishable by law.”

The notice signed by Acting Commissioner of Customs and Excise George Mnyitafu said the announcement  is published  to implement the Anti-Money Laundering Act, Cap 423  and the Anti-Money Laundering (Cross-Border Declaration of Currency and Bearer Negotiable Instruments) Regulations, 2016.

Mr. Onesmo Makombe, the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) Commissioner recently said  the Crossborder Declaration of Currency and Bearer Negotiable Instruments Regulations  will enable the country to obtain important statistics  on the movement of hard cash in and outside the country.

“The statistics will  enable the country to identify criminal activities, to reduce capital flight and to enable us reduce—if not completely eradicate movement of  money which is proceeds of crime, and the money meant to finance terrorism,” Mr. Makombe said, adding that “criminals like to travel with hard cash because they are afraid of using banks which have become quite sophisticated, but also because loopholes exist at entry and exit points.”

Offenders will face penalties which shall include confiscation of cash and criminal charges in the courts of  law, he said.

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