Sekouba Konate, a former Guinean president and serving African Union general, has pleaded guilty to smuggling money into the US.
Gen Konate handed over power in December 2010, after Guinea's first democratic elections in 50 years.Afterwards he was appointed general commander of the security forces of the African Union.
BBC reported that Gen Konate filled in a US declaration form stating he was carrying not more than $10,000. After this was queried twice by US customs officers, he admitted he was carrying $14,000. A preliminary search revealed $30,750 in US currency concealed in various compartments of the general's luggage. He signed another form admitting he was carrying $44,750. A second, more thorough search found an additional $20,020, again concealed in luggage compartments.
He repeatedly said the questioning was improper given his status as a former president and current commanding general of the African Union forces.
He testified at a pre-trial hearing that he did not understand the customs process because of language barriers, the agency reports.Prosecutors said he claimed to have $10,000 or less when he arrived at Washington Dulles International Airport in June 2013 and did not declare the other cash he was carrying, much of which was hidden in his luggage.
At the pre-trial hearing, a customs agent testified that there had been suspicions about Gen Konate because of his property purchases in North Carolina.
He faces up to five years in jail when he is sentenced next February.
Good news! and kudos to the customs agent!