SA student bust with R9m cash at OR Tambo escapes jail time

Fayrooz Saleh was arrested in possession of over R9m in US dollars at OR Tambo International Airport in September 2018.
Fayrooz Saleh was arrested in possession of over R9m in US dollars at OR Tambo International Airport in September 2018.
Image: Facebook/Fayrooz Saleh

The case of 23-year-old student Fayrooz Saleh - who was caught with US dollars worth over R9m, which she failed to declare at the OR Tambo International Airport - was concluded in the Kempton Park Magistrate’s Court last week.

In a written plea agreement, the student, who was arrested on September 11 2018 on her way to Hong Kong, shed light on where she had obtained the cash.

“The accused had travelled to Hong Kong after a long-time friend of hers, Mr Faisal Jamal, had asked that she should assist him to purchase goods,” the plea agreement read.

The goods she was to buy were listed as "PlayStations, game consoles, iPhones, laptops, iPads, notebooks, desktops, cellphones, jewellery, clothes and accessories".

“[Jamal] paid for her return ticket and said everything will be taken care of, including accommodation and food upon her arrival,” the agreement read.

“The accused was only advised after her arrest and release from custody by Mr Jamal that the money that was in her possession belonged to a businessman called Mr Ravichandren Dhurgasamy.”

Shortly after Saleh’s arrest, Sars said she initially denied having the $630,700 with her, but this was uncovered when her luggage was searched.

This led to the state arguing that Saleh had intentionally failed to declare the large sum of money that she had in her possession.

Both the state and Saleh’s lawyer reached an agreement on her sentence, which saw Saleh escape jail time.

The agreement read: “The accused is sentenced to a fine of R200,000 or 24 months imprisonment.

"It is ordered ... that the whole of this sentence be suspended for a period of three years, on condition that the accused is not convicted in contravention of section 15(1) of the Customs and Excise Act 91 of 1964 or an offence of which dishonesty is an element and for which imprisonment without the option of a fine is imposed during the period of suspension.”


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