Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA) customs officer Lazaro Magovongo told The Guardian here yesterday that the trio was nabbed on Tuesday morning after landing at the airport from Nairobi, Kenya.
According to Magovongo, the Thai nationals concealed the cash in what looked like books, but eagle-eyed customs officials became suspicious and, on inspection, discovered the money.
“We are holding them for not declaring the money contrary to the Anti-Money Laundering Act,” he said.
The Anti-Money Laundering Act requires that any person entering or leaving the country with $10,000 and above must declare the same to customs authorities at the point of entry or exit.
But the three Thai nationals - who identified themselves as mineral dealers on their way to Arusha to purchase minerals - did not do this, Magovongo claimed.
He said one of them was found with $15, 000 and 400,000/-; another with $121, 320, Thai bhat currency to the tune of 22,320, and 144,000/-; and the third was caught with $53, 000.
According to the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) assistant customs manager for Kilimanjaro region, Godfrey Kitundu, a person found guilty of committing an offence under the Anti-Money Laundering Act faces a fine of between 100m/- and 500m/-, or a jail term of up to three years.
“If the undeclared amount does not exceed $30, 000, the offender is fined 10 per cent of the total amount,” Kitundu further explained.
Money laundering is a crime being fought all over the world because of its devastating economic, security, and social consequences. It provides the fuel for drug dealers, terrorists, illegal arms dealers, corrupt public officials, and other criminals to operate and expand their activities.