UAE offers to help Nepal combat gold smuggling

Kathmandu, July 26

Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates Saeed Hamdan Al Naqei has said that the UAE is  interested in concluding an agreement with Nepal to combat gold smuggling, if the latter desires so.

Ambassador Naqei told Minister of Home Affairs Ram Bahadur Thapa that the UAE was having ‘some problems’ in controlling and preventing the smuggling of gold into Nepal from the Gulf via Tribhuvan International Airport due to the lack of any agreement between the two countries to this effect, said the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Naqei was appointed as the UAE’s first residential ambassador to Nepal in 2016. The country is a federation of seven emirates consisting of Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm al-Quwain. Ambassador Naqei also said a person wanted by Nepal in connection with gold smuggling was arrested in the UEA and would be handed over to the Nepali authorities soon. The meeting also dwelt on bilateral relations, mutual interests and cooperation.

Minister Thapa thanked Naqei for the support of the UAE to the special probe committee formed by the MoHA to investigate the March 2 murder of Sanam Shakya and disappearance of 33 kilograms of smuggled gold. According to the probe panel, the racket run by Chudamani Upreti alias Gorey, in cahoots with jewellers, police, customs officials and businessmen, had managed to smuggle around 3,800 kg gold with market value of over Rs 17 billion from Dubai through Tribhuvan International Airport in 421 trips since 2015.

Despite the ongoing crackdown on gold smugglers, racketeers continue to pass the precious yellow metal through Tribhuvan International Airport.

Most of the smuggled gold enters Nepal from Gulf through the Tribhuvan International Airport, and Tatopani and Rasuwagadhi-Kerung points via Tibet of China.

Cases of gold smuggling had gone down after the probe panel arrested over 33 alleged smugglers and filed charge-sheet against 75 persons in Morang District Court in May. After a brief lull, gold smugglers have again started cashing in on the poor security system to supply precious yellow metal to Nepal.

One held from TIA

KATHMANDU: Police on Wednesday arrested a person with 149 grams of undeclared gold he was collecting from returnee Nepali migrant workers. According to police, Kalidas Shrestha was held from the parking area of Tribhuvan International Airport. Migrant workers, who returned from the Gulf, had provided the gold to Shrestha. The gold was smuggled in small consignments by evading the customs.