DAR ES SALAAM, July 24 (Xinhua) -- The Kenyan government on Wednesday handed over 35.34 kilograms of gold that was smuggled from Tanzania in February 2018 and millions of cash money stolen from a Tanzanian bank in May 2004.
The gold, which was intercepted at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) on Feb. 15, 2018, was handed over by Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta's special envoy, Monica Juma, who is also the country's Minister for Foreign Affairs, to Tanzanian President John Magufuli.
The Kenyan government also handed over 170 million Tanzanian shillings, 76,500 U.S. dollars and 171,600 Kenyan shillings which were stolen on May 21, 2004 from the National Bank of Commerce in Moshi.
Biswalo Mganga, Tanzanian Director for Public Prosecution, said the Kenyan government has also handed over to Tanzanian authorities suspects who were involved in the smuggling of the gold and the stealing of the money to face prosecution.
Mganga said the return of the gold was agreed between Presidents Kenyatta and Magufuli when they recently met in Chato, Magufuli's native village in the northwest of the east African country.
Mganga said the gold was intercepted in July 2018 in the Kenyan capital Nairobi after it was smuggled from Mwanza airport through Kilimanjaro International Airport to JKIA.
Speaking after he had received the gold and money at an event televised live by state-run Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation, Magufuli described President Kenyatta as a hero and a person with the highest integrity.
Magufuli said Tanzania has taken several measures, including amendments of minerals laws and opening of minerals trading centers, in order to control smuggling of the minerals by unscrupulous people.
He lashed out at Tanzania's security and defense forces for laxity, saying he could not fathom how the gold was smuggled out of the country through airports without detection.
"This is a shame to our security and defense organs," said the head of state, commending the Kenyan security and defense forces for intercepting the gold at the JKIA.
The president warned that Tanzania and Kenya were not suitable places for suspects to hide because they will be flushed out and face the full force of the law.
Magufuli said he was planning to reward the Kenyan security and defense organs that intercepted the gold. Enditem