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South Africa Seizes $9.3M Cash in Luggage

Republic of South Africa

South African authorities are investigating the discovery of millions in cash that customs officials found in the luggage from a private jet that flew in from Nigeria.

The seizure took place September 5 at the Lanseria airport, northwest of in the Johannesburg, after "irregularities" were detected in the luggage of two Nigerians and an Israeli who were on the plane.

Customs officials said the confiscated cash was packed in 90 blocks of $100,000 each in two black suitcases. The maximum cash allowance per traveler in South Africa is about $2,300. No arrests have been made.

Some local news reports said the cash was for the purchase of arms for the Nigerian intelligence service, and that at least one of the men aboard the flight was in possession of an invoice for the goods to be purchased in South Africa.

However, investigators say they have heard conflicting reasons for the large amounts cash, and that arms transactions are not usually paid for in cash.

For now, the money has been handed over to the Reserve Bank for safekeeping until the investigation is complete.

Some information for this report comes from AP, AFP and Reuters.