Plan to erect concrete barriers between SA and Mozambique set to resume
In file Club of Mozambique
A court in the South African town of Barberton on Monday postponed for 24 hours a decision on the fate of the two Mozambicans arrested on Christmas Day, while attempting to smuggle the equivalent of 7.3 million US dollars from Mozambique into South Africa.
According to a a report in Tuesday’s issue of the independent daily “O Pais”, the judge decided that she needed more time to reflect on the arguments of the Public Prosecutor’s Office and of the men’s lawyer as to whether they should remain in prison or be released on bail.
The two men, 50 year old Assane Momad and 37 year old Abdul Ahmed, were stopped at the Lebombo border post because the South African police received an anonymous tip-off about the smuggled money. When they searched the men’s car, a Toyota Hilux, the police found the money, in dollar, euro and rand banknotes, concealed in a hidden compartment.
So far there has been no convincing explanation of where such a large sum of money came from, and where Momad and Ahmed intended to take it. They told the police they were driving from Maputo to Johannesburg.
The prosecution, which is charging the two with money laundering, told the judge they wanted a further seven days to continue investigations, but the defence wants the men released on bail at once.
A further twist was added by Momad, whose lawyer said he has asked for political asylum in South Africa. He claimed that he is suffering “political persecution” in Mozambique, and asked that he be accommodated in a refugee camp.
The nature of this alleged “persecution” is unclear. It is unlikely that any court would take this request seriously – not least because genuine refugees do not usually carry millions of dollars in banknotes hidden in their cars.
The defence also showed a touching concern for the Mozambican press. They said the court should not delay its decision any further because of the costs for the press of repeated travel between Maputo and Barberton.Source: AIM
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