It remains to be seen whether the 22-year-old student caught trying to leave South Africa with over R9 million in US dollars will reveal where she got the funds from.
Fayrooz Saleh is on Wednesday expected back in the Kempton Park Magsitrate’s Court‚ where she will submit her guilty plea after telling the court last month that she intended to admit to her crime.
Saleh had appeared nervous as she took her place in the dock‚ dressed in a tan T-shirt and sporting curly dark hair and glasses. She battled to stand still and swayed from side to side as her case was heard.
If her guilty plea is accepted‚ the court could order that she pay a fine of up to treble the value of the goods she failed to declare‚ or that she serve jail time not exceeding two years.
Saleh‚ believed to be from Ennerdale in Johannesburg‚ also faces a charge suggesting the cash may be the proceeds of a crime. The state alleged that she took the money knowing it was obtained unlawfully. She has no previous convictions or pending bail matters.
Saleh was arrested at the OR Tambo International Airport on 11 September as she was about to depart for Hong Kong.
According to court documents‚ she was stopped by officials from the SA Revenue Service (Sars) who took her to the customs area. They opened her luggage in her presence and found $630‚700 (R9m). When questioned‚ she said she was heading to Hong Kong to buy goods.
Saleh appeared in court shortly after her arrest and said she could afford bail of R10‚000. The court granted her bail of R20‚000 instead.
Following her arrest‚ Sars said in a statement that she had initially denied having the currency in her possession. But when questioned further she admitted to having a substantial sum of money in her backpack.
“She admitted that she was not the owner of the currency‚ nor could she provide any proof of ownership‚” the statement read.