Nairobi News


Kenyan woman arrested in India in suspected gold smuggling case

By Hilary Kimuyu February 23rd, 2024 2 min read

A Kenyan woman has been arrested for alleged involvement in smuggling 3.6 kilograms of gold worth Sh26.4 million at the Mumbai International Airport.

Sadia Mohammed Ali, 38, departed from the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) and reportedly claims she was drawn into the gold smuggling racket by her friend Safia, motivated by a desire to settle her loans.

She is among eight individuals accused of smuggling approximately 8kg of gold and five iPhones from foreign countries.

The Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) said the woman had hidden the gold in her luggage and was heading out of the airport when she was intercepted.

The latest incident has raised concerns about how she bypassed security checks at JKIA.

Indian authorities discovered a substantial quantity of gold in her luggage, including bars, melted pieces, and jewelry, prompting an investigation into potential accomplices and wider smuggling networks.

Following the interrogation, the Kenyan woman confessed to her involvement in the gold smuggling and is presently being held at a local police station while further investigations proceed.

This incident follows a similar event in October 2023, where four Kenyan women were arrested in India with nearly Sh49.9 million allegedly acquired through illegal cross-border activities.

Authorities revealed that these women were part of a criminal organization involved in smuggling gold from various countries, melting it in India, and then selling it as bars.

Additionally, another Kenyan woman was apprehended at Mumbai International Airport in a separate incident attempting to smuggle gold inside her undergarments.

She was detained for further inquiries after authorities discovered Police recovered 17 pieces of 22-carat melted gold bars in her undergarment.

This, along with the recent large-scale smuggling attempts, highlights potential vulnerabilities in passenger screening procedures at JKIA.

In April 2023, nine Kenyan women were arrested and detained in India at the Mumbai Airport for attempting to smuggle Sh156.4 million worth of gold.

Officials said the incident captured by CCTV showed the nine engaging in a fracas with the airport guards in an attempt to shift attention from their illegal business.

The incident happened days after 19 Sudanese women were held for carrying 18 kilograms of gold worth a similar amount.

According to airport security, the women refused to be searched and caused a scene at the airport while others tried to run.

“When these women were asked to cooperate, they started creating a ruckus. The entire thing was recorded on CCTV and monitored by our officials. Some of the suspects tried to escape but they were overpowered and detained,” stated an official at the airport.

The women reportedly hid the 18.28 kilogram of gold worth Sh156,426,564 (Rs 9.4 crore) in a fake designer bag.

The suspects aged between 26 and 47 years were associated with the garment business and traveled to India on a tourist visa.

They were not given the option of bail.

Also read: Kate Actress unites Kenyan women with viral ‘Who TF did I marry’ TikTok series