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South Africa seizes $9.3 million in cash intended to buy weapons

South Africa’s National Prosecuting Authority seized $9.3 million in cash intended for the purchase of weapons and helicopters to be used in Nigeria, NPA spokesman Nathi Mncube said.

“The cash consisted of 90 blocks of $100,000 each and was found in two black plastic suitcases,” Mncube said today in an e-mailed statement. “Each suitcase had a combination lock to which only one Eyal Mesika, an Israeli citizen, had the combination.”

The cash was illegally brought into the country on a Sept. 5 flight from Nigeria to Lanseria Airport, north of Johannesburg, and was initially confiscated by the South African Revenue Service due to customs violations. Two passengers from Nigeria accompanied Mesika, the South African Press Association reported today.

An investigation subsequently linked the cash to an invoice for various armaments and helicopters, according to the NPA.

“The goods were intended to be used in Nigeria,” Mncube said. “The money is currently in the custody of the South African Reserve Bank.