Bali officials find kilo of meth in Tanzanian’s stomach

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…As EFCC, ABCON set to combat money laundering at airport***

A Tanzanian man was arrested in Bali after more than a kilogram of methamphetamine was found inside his stomach, Indonesian authorities said on Tuesday.

Immigration officials on the holiday island — who routinely detain foreigners for drug offences — said they nabbed Abdul Rahman Asman at the international airport on January 30.

An X-ray and CT scan turned up some 99 plastic baggies filled with white powder that Asman had swallowed, topping a kilo in weight, authorities said.

Dozens of the baggies were displayed on a table at the customs office Tuesday as Asman, 42, was paraded before reporters in an orange jumpsuit and restrained with hand and leg irons.

It was not clear if prosecutors will seek the death penalty against Asman but Indonesia has some of the world’s strictest drug laws, including execution by firing squad for traffickers.

There are dozens of smugglers on death row, including a cocaine-mule British grandmother, an American caught with crystal methamphetamine, and several west African inmates sentenced to death for drug crimes.

American Husein Ashadi Bahri, 60, was also shown at the conference after his arrest in a drug sting that discovered some 45 grams of marijuana stuffed inside a computer keyboard.

Bahri faces a maximum of 15 years in jail if convicted.

In the meantime, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Association of Bureaux De Change Operators of Nigeria have taken the campaign against money laundering and terrorism financing to Bureaux de Change operators at the Murtala Muhammed Airport 2 (MM2), Lagos.

 Speaking during the sensitisation programme against money laundering and terrorism financing campaign at MM2, which was attended by many BDC operators, the acting Chairman, EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, called for continuous sensitisation on issues around Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism reporting to improve transparency in BDCs operations.

He said the EFCC would continue to campaign for financial integrity and transparency in BDCs’ operations.

Other stakeholders at the event also spoke on the use of BDCs for illicit political transactions, illegal border cash evacuation, reporting of suspicious transactions, fraud accounts transactions and cash dollar deposits on domiciliary accounts.

Independent sources alleged that the choice of MM2 was because the centre remained a major spot for illegal funds transfer and border cash evacuation in the country.

The President, ABCON, Aminu Gwadabe, said the BDC sector was part of the financial system and was seen as the weakest link in the financial system.

He appealed to the regulators to approve the group’s request for the establishment of a training centre in order to build capacity of over 4,500 BDC operators for better understanding of the menace of money laundering and terrorism financing.

Gwadabe said the anti-money laundering sensitisation programme was intended to familiarise the BDC operators with the process of money laundering – the criminal business used to disguise the true origin and ownership of illegal cash – and the laws that made it a crime.

Gwadabe said that the programme was also meant to help the BDCs maintain minimum standard of record keeping and increasing level of investors’ confidence in the economy.

He said the group would continue to pursue Nigeria’s admission into the Financial Action Task Force due this year.

The FATF is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 by the Ministers of its member jurisdictions, he stated.

“The FATF is, therefore, a ‘policy-making body’ which works to generate the necessary political will to bring about national legislative and regulatory reforms in these areas,” Gwadabe said.

AFP with additional report from Punch