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Israeli pilot instructor arrested


An Israeli pilot instructor was last Saturday arrested at the Harare International Airport with contraband of 1, 7kg of diamonds worth over $2, 4 million.

Shmuel Kainan Klein, resident in Zimbabwe, was detained at the airport after aviation security officers allegedly recovered 8 486, 66 carats from his luggage as he allegedly attempted to smuggle the gems to South Africa.

The gems were taken to the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ) for assaying where it was established they were valued at $2 437 708,24.

Klein pleaded not guilty to a count of unlawful possession of precious stones and another count of contravening section 12 (1) of the Immigration Act which deals with entry by invasion, when he appeared before regional magistrate Clever Tsikwa on Tuesday. He was remanded out of custody to March 28 on $500 bail.

As part of his bail conditions, Klein was ordered to surrender his passport, title deeds to his Harare property and to report twice every week at Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Serious Frauds.

According to the State, Klein is employed by CAL Airlines of Israel as a pilot instructor.

Prosecutor Tracy Mundanga told the court that last Saturday at around 11am Klein intended to leave for South Africa aboard a South African flight SA 23. The State alleges Klein was clad in his pilot uniform when he presented himself with his luggage to the screening point manned by an aviation security officer.

It is alleged the security officer noted Klein looked jittery as his two bags were being screened and that prompted her to make a physical check on Kleins hand luggage.

Upon being searched Klein was allegedly found in possession of suspicious stones wrapped in a plastic bag sealed with a cellotape. Detectives from border control unit were called and allegedly recovered 1 379 pieces of gems.

Further searches were conducted and another 67 pieces were reportedly recovered wrapped in a one US dollar note stashed in the lining of another smaller hand luggage.

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