Cashgate: Bopela's Big Blunder! Zimbabwean Tycoon Caught Red-Handed Trying To Smuggle US$153k in ESwatini[Image Credit: TheNewsHawks]

Cashgate: Bopela’s Big Blunder! Zimbabwean Tycoon Caught Red-Handed Trying To Smuggle US$153k in ESwatini

A Zimbabwean national, Masiyakurima Agrippa Bopela (Masiya), was apprehended at King Mswati III International Airport with a staggering E2.8 million in cash which is equivalent to USD$153k.

Bopela‘s Attempt to Leave the Country with Cash

The incident occurred when Bopela attempted to leave the country after being denied permission by a local bank to deposit the money. The cash was seized by police officers stationed at the airport leading to the urgent application of the DPP. It is suspected that the money was obtained through illicit means, such as money laundering or possibly to finance terrorism. 

Police Officer Notices Cash in Bopela’s Bag

According to Times, Bopela initially arrived in the country with the equivalent of E2,897,183 in US dollars. He went through the immigration process and declared an amount of US$153,000 (E2,820,000) at the Department of Eswatini Revenue Services (Customs). Bopela was then released with the cash. However, the following day, when Bopela attempted to fly out of the country, a police officer noticed that he still had cash in his bag. Agrippa claimed that he had declared the cash upon arrival. The officer then, informed him that he needed to declare it again when departing. Bopela was taken back to the Customs desk, where the cash was counted. It totaled US$153,860, with US$3,860 found in Agrippa’s pockets. When asked about the source of the cash, Bopela failed to produce any supporting documentation. The matter was then reported to Agrippa’s superiors, and the cash was seized.

Aggressive behavior during questioning By Bopela

The investigators questioned Bopela about the reasons for carrying such a large amount of cash and the source of the funds. Masiyakurima became aggressive and uncooperative during the questioning. Dr. Godfrey Gandawa a fellow Zimbabwean who holds Eswatini citizenship, advised Masiyakurima to cooperate. Agrippa claimed he tried to deposit the cash at First National Bank, but they refused the bulk deposit. The investigators attempted to detain the cash under the Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism (Prevention) Act 2011. Bopela’s attorney confirmed this information at Siteki Magistrates Court. The court ordered that the US$3,860 found in Bopela’s pockets be released to him for personal expenses.