Police seize U.S.$225 Million from Pakistan nationals at Border Post

MAPUTO – Mozambican police have arrested two Pakistan nationals trying to smuggle US$225 million in cash into Zimbabwe through the Machipanda border post in central Manica Province, Radio Mozambique reported.

It is believed the money was intended to be delivered to one of the Zanu PF factions.  

Quoting police officials, the state-controlled broadcaster said the money was stashed in an old sack in the boot of a light vehicle when police and customs officials pounced on the suspected smugglers while conducting routine checks.

The two Pakistanis did not reveal the purpose of the money but said they were going to Zimbabwe, where their diplomatic representation is based, to update their residence permits for Mozambique.

Police spokesperson in Manica Province, Pedro Jamusse, told the broadcaster it was the first interception of such large sums of money after Machipanda border became notorious for illegal foreign currency transits.

"This is a huge apprehension, it’s a lot of money and we are still investigating where it (the money) is coming from and its final destination," he said.

"So far we have beefed up joint security operations to protect the money now in the hands of the customs department and the ministry of finance," Jamusse said.

Mozambique only allows a maximum of US$5 000 to go through its borders, ports and airports and undeclared money is forfeited by the state.

Television footage showed the US$100 packs of notes stashed in an old sack in the boot of a light five-seater vehicle.

Machipanda border post has become a haven for illegal foreign currency business dealers as thousands of desperate Zimbabweans flock to Manica and Chimoio to buy groceries.

Basic goods are far cheaper than those found across in Zimbabwe. Zimbabweans have swamped shops in Manica and Chimoio where basic commodities, including fuel, are loaded onto trucks.

The government has failed to stamp out the parallel market trade in foreign currency propelled by the country’s worsening economic and political crises. SOURCE: The Standard