Raise Baig, a 29-year old man who was found in possession of R25-million yet failed to say what it was for or where it was coming from has been handed a 3 year imprisonment.
Baig was arrested in 2017 but his case came to an end when he pleaded guilty to money laundering charges at the Bloemfontein Regional Court on Wednesday.
He was slapped with an eight year sentence, five of which was suspended for five years. Baig forfeited the money to the State.
According to Captain Christopher Singo of the Free State Hawks, they received tip off that Baig and another person had the money on them on February 14 2017.
Singo said the pair had hired a car from Durban to Braam Fischer Airport in Bloemfontein. Although they had passports on them, they couldn’t prove whether they wanted to leave the country or not.
“The pair were both found with R9 million and also 900 000 US Dollars which they did not account for when asked by the authorities.”
Both Baig and his co-accused were arrested. However, the latter was later released due to lack of evidence.
Baig was later released on bail as investigations continued but pleaded guilty on Wednesday.
“He was sentenced to 8 years imprisonment of which 5 years is suspended on condition that he is not found guilty of the same offence during the period of his suspension.
“He will serve 3 years direct imprisonment. Baig was also fined R200 000 of which R100 000 is suspended and the other R100 000 must be paid immediately. R25 million that was recovered was forfeited to the state.”
Hawks’s head Lieutenant General Godfrey Lebeya welcomed the conclusion of the matter.
Lebeya said “I would like to commend the team of investigators and prosecutors for pursuing this matter without fail. The forfeiture of R25m by the accused will send a clear message to those who are working with the him that crime does not pay”.