Two Kenya Airways crew arrested in India over smuggled gold

Two Kenya Airways (KQ) flight crew have been arrested in India for allegedly being in possession of concealed gold.

By Daily Nation

Although the weight and worth of the gold has not been disclosed, Nation.Africa has learnt that the two were nabbed by the Mumbai airport authorities who are reported to have alerted their Kenyan counterparts on the case.

The suspected national carrier crew were arrested when their respective flights landed in Mumbai. It is also not clear whether the security officers acted on a tip but investigations have been launched, according to Kenyan authorities aware of the development.

The two are reported to have arrived from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), Nairobi aboard separate flights on Thursday 9 and Friday 10 when they were found in possession of the gold without prior declaration.

“The Indian customs officials arrested the flight crews and they reach out to the Kenyan customs officials. They are working closely to establish the origin of the gold consignment and why it was not declared at the point of exit,” said a security official at JKIA, who declined to be named.

Officials in Nairobi are investigating how the recovered gold left JKIA undetected and those who may have facilitated the illegal act, according to Indian law, it is a criminal offense to carry concealed gold.

The offenses and penal provisions state “that persons involved in smuggling and other modus operandi of imports and exports, in violation of prohibitions/ restrictions in vogue or with intent to evade duties or fraudulently claim export incentives are liable to serious penal action under the Customs Act.”

“The offending goods can be confiscated and heavy fines and penalties imposed.

“There are also provisions for arrests and prosecution to deter them from smuggling and commercial frauds, which seriously affect the economy and even society at large regarding sensitive goods like drugs, arms and ammunition.

“This applies to the provisions in the law for seizure, confiscation of goods, and imposition of penalties by adjudication.”

On its part, KQ has said it is cooperating with investigation agencies in regards to the case.

“KQ has zero tolerance towards any action of its employees that contravenes local or international laws prevalent in the countries of its operations,” the airline’s communications desk said.

In 2018, a 29-year-old KQ crew was arrested in Mumbai with 23kilogras of smuggled gold bars valued at Sh100 million.

Abdalla Ali Said, who was allegedly supposed to hand over the gold to Ibrahim Ali Hussein, was spotted by the customs officials while passing through security at the airport.

He had tucked the 154 gold ‘biscuits’ in a waist belt and knee-cap supports.

According to The Times of India, the gold seizure was the biggest ever to be seized in India.