BVI News

‘I wouldn’t last in prison’ | Ugandan begs for mercy ahead of sentencing

Chelsea Mutyaba

Ahead of his sentencing hearing later this month, Chelsea Mutyaba of Uganda in East Africa made a passionate appeal to the court for mercy and came close to tears at the idea of a possible custodial sentence.

Mutyaba is charged for engagement in smuggling and failing to declare $23,241 while travelling through the TB Lettsome International Airport last Thursday.

He pleaded guilty to both offences, and told the court that if the court sees it fit to confiscate the cash, “let it be”.

“I am an honest man. I am not a criminal,” he said to the court during his first appearance.

“I did it because I was ignorant of the BVI laws,” he told the court on Wednesday while mitigating on his own behalf.

He said in the past when he travelled to other destinations such as Peru, Fiji and even in his home country, and declared cash, certain corrupt Customs officials would alert thugs of the money he had.

These thugs would then attempt to rob him of his funds, he told the court.

“Have mercy on me. I will never be in this position. I am just asking for mercy. I am not a criminal, I just made a silly mistake. The money belongs to me,” he said.

He also provided the court with a document from a Ugandan bank showing the withdrawal of the cash.

Fearful of prison

Meanwhile, Mutyaba said he had never been in prison before and was fearful of the prospect.

“I wouldn’t be strong to last in prison, I am scared of prison, I am scared. I have been tested for cancer,” he said, adding that he is a father of four.

His matter was then adjourned to March 19 for sentencing.

What happened

The court heard that last Thursday, the accused man was attempting to leave the Beef Island-based airport after spending a few days in the British Virgin Islands.

The accused man reportedly told police that he arrived in the territory with the intention to establish a business and rent a house. However, he said that venture turned out to be too expensive.

While he was being screened at the airport, $13,001 was found concealed in the left side of an Adidas sneaker. The cash was bound by a rubber band in predominantly $20 bills.

Another sum of cash was found in the pocket of a pair of jogger’s pants in his suitcase, also bound with rubber bands and totalled $10,240.

The accused was transported to the Road Town Police Station, and the cash was counted and photographed. He was later charged.


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  1. Hey says:

    Just be careful with the dude name pumpkin. You should be okay

    Like 8
    Dislike 2
  2. James says:

    Why send a man to prison for failing to declare monies? How about confiscating the money then deporting him…smh.

    Like 26
    Dislike 4
  3. True says:

    I know for a fact this happen in Puerto Rico to a bvilander..the custom call his friends and they robbed him for 18000 .all his house roof money

  4. Krazy says:

    You don’t have to worry about the prison my African friend, up there is a five-star hotel and inexpensive compare to what you would have paid if you had decided to stay in the BVI.

  5. 123 says:

    he had proof that the monies is his. why keep the money

    Like 21
    Dislike 1
  6. or at the very least... says:

    not give him a jail sentence for funds he proved to be his own.

    Like 16
  7. Anonymous says:

    Why sentence him when he gave proof of the money being his smh I’m sick of these people bs just cause the man is not from here smh anyone with good sense would see where this man is coming from and if I’m traveling with so much cash I would hide it in clothing same way and declair it smh

    Like 9
    Dislike 2
  8. :) says:

    His story is BS though. Who takes a trip to the BVI full of cash to establish a business and rent a house. Almost nowhere in the world can a visitor just go with a pocket full of money and open a business. He’s not even a resident, doesn’t have a trade licence, probably had minimum time to stay on the island. This was a potential s—-m, c————— activity that occurred or may have been thwarted.

    Nowhere in the article mentions if the bank statement was verified as authentic. He had some idea that you are supposed to declare money when entering another country because he said he did it before in Fiji, Peru and Uganda so why would he think it would be any different. Also if he really planned to open a business why wouldn’t he at least research the BVI before deciding on making such a bold move to come here with intent to open a business.

    Like 10
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  9. Mr. Hodge says:

    Having cash is not illegal however, not declaring it is. Officials KNOW that you have the money and they know where it is… see that strip that you see when you hold it up to the light??? Just be able to prove where you got it and sign some paperwork

  10. i mean says:

    why travel with all that cash

  11. EU Citizen says:

    For how long has the limit been $10,000?
    Many, many years. Not that inflation has been high recently but it is definitely time to up that limit. To $30,000 or $50,000.
    Having said that, all cash business is suspicious.
    Why bring cash when you can bring a check, or wire the money, or use a credit card?
    No limit. And no robbery risk.
    Doesn’t make sense to bring cash nowadays.

    Like 3
    Dislike 1
    • duck1951 says:

      I believe that is a worldwide agreed amount ! I agree with confiscating some of the funds and send him on his merry way. I can think of many worse white collar crimes where people get exonerated .

  12. Youp says:

    Lol what a bunch of hogwash. Send him up the hill. Don’t let him pull the wool over your eyes lol.

  13. Gwen says:

    He was going to invest it in the BVI.

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