Maputo — The Mozambican customs service has seized 13.466 kilos of gold, valued at over 800,000 US dollars, from a citizen of Lebanese nationality at Beira International Airport. According to a report in the Beira daily paper “Diario de Mocambique”, the seizure occurred last Wednesday when the Lebanese was about to board a plane from Beira to Johannesburg.
A source in the Sofala provincial customs delegation said that the Lebanese was carrying the gold illegally in his baggage in the shape of six ingots and five prisms with a seven centimeter circular base.
Customs added that initially the Lebanese refused to cooperate, but he later admitted that the gold came from illegal artisanal mining in Manica district, in the province of the same name.
“The seized gold has been deposited in the coffers of the Bank of Mozambique, while the accused awaits judgment”, said the customs source.
The current price for gold on the international market is 1,706.4 dollars an ounce. Thus 13.466 kilos of gold is worth 810,540 dollars. If it is true that the Lebanese acquired the gold from miners in Manica, the seizure confirms the fears that a great deal of gold is circulating without any control by the authorities.
Parts of Manica province where gold and precious stones are known to exist – such as Manica, Sussundenga, Barue and Macossa districts – act as magnets attracting illegal miners both from Mozambique and from other countries.
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Mozambique: Customs Seizes Gold From Trafficker