Any person with an “interest” in the stash of R9-million in US dollars confiscated from South African student Fayrooz Saleh is entitled to step forward to lodge a claim if they oppose it being forfeited to the state.
Saleh was arrested in September 2018 at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg as she boarded a flight to Hong Kong, carrying $630,700 in undeclared cash in her luggage.
She avoided spending time in jail when she opted to pay a R200,000 fine after her court case wrapped up on April 18 – the day of her 23rd birthday. At the conclusion of the case a forfeiture order kicked in, giving interested parties time to claim the cash or risk losing it to the state.
“Any person who has an interest in the property and who intends opposing the application for an order forfeiting the property to the state or applying for an order excluding his or her interest from a forfeiture order in respect of the property, must enter an appearance giving his or her intention in terms of … the Prevention of Organised Crime Act,” court papers read.
The money has been kept in the custody of the Reserve Bank since being seized.
Saleh said that although the money was found in her possession, it was not hers.
In a written plea agreement, she shed light on where the money came from.
“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 expected to buy included “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.”
Her case was finally concluded with her entering into an agreement with the state.
She was sentenced to a fine of R200,000 or 24 months’ imprisonment. She was further sentenced to 24 months wholly suspended for three years, effectively meaning she was expected to pay the fine or serve two years. She paid the fine.