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MBABANE – The businessman, Masiyakurima Agrippa Bopela (Masiya), allegedly deposited US$100 000 (1.7 million Zambian Kwacha) in Zambia.

He, however, encountered a challenge when he tried to deposit E2.8 million at First National Bank in Manzini last Tuesday. The bank allegedly informed Masiya that he could only deposit the money in amounts of US$5 000 each day, but he decided to leave as he could not stay in the country for that long.  According to the Head of the Asset Forfeiture Unit, Principal Crown Counsel Elsie Matsebula, Masiya allegedly sent, via WhatsApp, a message to one of the investigators, Sergeant Steven Mlambo, which contained a receipt reflecting a deposit of US$100 000 in a Zambian bank.  Masiya, however, deleted for everyone the message. He is said to have also deleted the receipt but it was already stored in the investigators cellphone since he had taken a screenshot of it.


Matsebula said the deposit slip showing that he allegedly deposited US$100 000 in Zambia was proof that he was involved in planting cash in different jurisdictions, the purpose of which is unknown. “There are also articles online raising some red flags that might prompt the conduct of placing cash in various jurisdictions. There is a need to do an investigation in this regard and we have since sent a request to Zimbabwe for assistance,” she said. Constable Mbongeni Kunene, who is based at King Mswati III International Airport Police Post, stated in his confirmatory affidavit that when he informed Mayisa, who was then with his countryman, that they had to wait for his superiors so that they could be escorted to the bank, they ran off and jumped into a Toyota Prado with foreign registration plates, and drove off.  He said he had accompanied Masiya to the Eswatini Revenue Service (ERS) Office at the airport last Monday. He submitted that Masiya was carrying two bags and was attended to by Zethu Hlatshwako at the ERS Office.  Kunene informed the court that Masiya told Hlatshwako that he had some cash to declare.  “He opened one bag and we started counting the money, which was in US Dollars. It was packed in bundles. There were 15 bundles of US$10 000,” said Kunene.


He also told the court that Masiya informed him that he was going to FNB Ezulwini Gables where he had an appointment. He said he asked Masiya how he would deposit the money since it was 4pm and banks closed at 3:30pm. Masiya allegedly told him that he would do private banking as bank officials were aware that he would be arriving. Masiya also allegedly informed the police officer that he wanted to deposit the money on that day because ‘he does not want to sleep with the money’. According to Kunene, Hlatshwako signed the declaration form in his presence and he was a witness. However, he said before appending his signature, he called his shift supervisor and informed him that a Zimbabwean man was declaring US$150 000.  Kunene said the shift supervisor told him that he would notify the post commander about the matter and Hlatshwako released Masiya.

Kunene stated that he and Masiya went to the public concourse where the latter met a fellow Zimbabwean national. “I advised them to wait for a bank escort. The two men told me they could not wait for my superiors to ask for a bank escort as they were running out of time. They said they wanted to reach Ezulwini before 5pm. When I tried calling my shift supervisor, who said they should wait for him, they ran towards a Prado with foreign registration licence plates and drove off,” Kunene narrated. Sergeant Delisile Vilakati stated in her confirmatory affidavit that Masiya also carried a further amount of 2 200 Ethiopian Birr.