Foreigner carrying Sh238m seized by customs officials at JKIA

Main entrance at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

A man in possession of Sh238million in foreign currency was yesterday arrested at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

The suspect was arrested by customs officials moments after he arrived in the country from Bunjumbura, Burundi, yesterday afternoon, over a ‘wrongful declaration on the intended destination of the money’.

A statement from the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) Customs and Border Control unit said the man was arrested after customs officials noted that there were discrepancies on the documents he had presented and the final destination of the cash.

Lilian Nyawanda of KRA said the money had been disguised as a parcel containing $2million.

“On arrival at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, the passenger declared that the parcel had been sent from the Banque de Credit de Bujumbura (BCB) and that it was to be received by a private security company in Kenya.”

“After clearance by Customs Unit at the airport, the traveller later presented the same money at the Swiss Port Cargo shed with different export documents for shipment to a company in the United Kingdom.

“The documents produced to support the export request were different from those produced on entry into the country,” said KRA.

Inconsistencies in the passenger’s declarations prompted customs officers to seize the cash.

Following the arrest, a series of high-level meetings and consultations were held among the multi-agency security officers at JKIA.

And after about two hours of consultations, two options were agreed upon.

One of the options was to fly the man and his cash back to Bujumbura.

The second option was to call in Asset Recovery Authority should the suspect fail to give a convincing reason on the source of cash.

By last evening the matter seemed to have been resolved. A source at JKIA told The Standard that the matter had been resolved after a British National who runs a chain of hotels in Rwanda claimed the cash.

The official who spoke on condition of anonymity said the British businessman convinced the customs officials that he was the real owner of the cash and that the arrested man was just his agent.

“We allowed the businessman to go, freed his money, and also the agent,” said the official.

The Standard could not independently verify these claims.

This latest arrest comes barely a month after a Bahraini national was nabbed transporting Sh110.8m in cash through JKIA.

He was on transit to Bahrain aboard Egypt air.

“The alert was that the passenger had earlier made several attempts to deposit the currency in a bank, but had failed,” said KRA.