The cargo aircraft that was delayed in Harare, Zimbabwe, with a consignment of rand notes has arrived in South Africa, the SA Reserve Bank (SARB) said on Saturday.
The bank was now in possession of the consignment of notes, SARB group executive for the currency cluster Pradeep Maharaj said in a statement.
“The SARB co-operated with both the Zimbabwean and South African authorities in securing the release of the consignment. The SARB wishes to reiterate that the process of printing South African currency abroad and the transporting thereof is part of the normal course of currency operations and business contingency planning.”
Maharaj said that to ensure contingency plans were robust and regularly tested, a small percentage of the SARB’s annual banknote order was outsourced to credible and vetted international printing companies.
“The bulk of South African currency is produced at its [SARB] wholly-owned subsidiary, the South African Banknote Company,” he said.
The McDonnell-Douglas MD-11 trijet was impounded on February 14 during a refuelling stop after workers at Harare International Airport noticed blood dripping from the plane.
A fully clothed body of a black man was discovered in a compartment, but owing to advanced decomposition a forensic pathologist could not establish with certainty how and when the man died. The postmortem showed that the man died of “asphyxiation” – a lack of oxygen.
Ruling out foul play, police in Harare said the man had boarded the plane alive with no internal injuries.
The International Police Organisation (Interpol) has since issued a notice to police forces in Germany, Belgium, Uganda, Ivory Coast, and Nigeria to assist in establishing the identity and nationality of the suspected stowaway.
The aircraft, owned by United States-based Western Global Airlines, finally departed Harare for South Africa on Friday night.
The money was printed in Munich, Germany, and was destined for Durban. It is the property of the SARB.