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MBABANE – The Central Bank of Eswatini (CBE) has refused to respond to information linking it to under-fire security company G4S.

This is the company that is presently embroiled in the Thabo Bester scandal in neighbouring South Africa. The Times SUNDAY has it in good authority that the CBE entered into a three-year agreement with G4S for the provision of cash security services. The CBE Head Strategy and Communications, Mandla Luphondvo, when asked about G4S, said responding could compromise the bank. “While the Central Bank values engagement with the public through media, we note that responding to the questions you have raised will inevitably result into a compromise on some of the bank’s highly classified information, its security processes and operations. It is in this regard that the Central Bank wishes to decline responding to your questions as raised,” Luphondvo said.

The following questions were posed to Luphondvo: Does the Central Bank of Eswatini still have a contract with Cash-In-Transit (CIT) security company G4S? In November 2019, an amount of R100 000, which was part of E29m, that was being repatriated to the South African Reserve Bank from the CBE through Matsapha International Airport, went missing. G4s was responsible for handling this money. Was this money eventually recovered; if so, from who? Who was eventually held liable for the disappearance of the R100 000? How was/is the working relationship between the CBE and G4s, considering that the company has come under fire or strong criticism in the handling of the Thabo Bester escape from a South African prison? G4S is a London-based global security company, owned by Allied Universal, a security and facility services company.

According to G4S, the Allied Universal partnership allowed the company to be on a global level. “Through a global workforce of approximately 800 000 people, we leverage best practices in communities all over the world. With revenue of approximately $20 billion, we have the resources to deploy efficient processes and systems to help deliver our promise locally: keeping people safe so our communities can thrive,” G4S states on their company website. “In Africa and the Middle East, we have an extensive network of offices and more than 122 000 employees to support our local communities and customers.” In South Africa specifically, G4S says it has a strong presence in all nine provinces. “We are one of the largest private sector employers, providing employment to 10 000 screened, security vetted and highly trained personnel countrywide.”

The company, in South Africa, provides multiple services, which include G4S Cash solutions  cash-in-transit arm of the company. The security company also provides ATM solutions (installation and care of ATMs). G4S also has a banking solutions arm that allows them to work with nine commercial banks in South Africa and further runs dedicated regional and shared cash centres on their behalf. G4S provides a cash processing service for banks in SA.


“G4S operates a network of cash centres in South Africa. Currently providing a full outsourced solution for a number of commercial banks, and processing much of the country’s cash requirements,” reads the information on the company’s website. This publication understands that the contract between the CBE and G4S entailed handling money that is destined for the South African Reserve Bank (SARB). The contract between the CBE and G4S was in full existence when the amount of R100 000 that was part of a sum of R29 million went missing before reaching the SARB around November 2019. Although the CBE at the time did not disclose the name of the security company that was part of the money’s repatriation process from Eswatini to South African, it did acknowledge its involvement. Sources had informed this publication that it was at the O.R Tambo International Airport in South Africa that officials from the SARB discovered that part of the E29 million was missing.


“When the consignment left Eswatini there was nothing wrong or suspicious. But at O.R Tambo, the SARB officials discovered that the original seal of the consignment had been tampered with and a second seal used to try and close the package. When the consignment left Eswatini, there was only one seal, which was an indication that everything was perfect. However, the officials found that from the amount of R29 million someone had taken a stack of R100 000,” one of the sources disclosed. The CBE has confirmed the missing money and the figure involved but held back on disclosing the entire figure from which it was stolen, neither did they disclose the name of the security company pending the investigations. “Kindly be advised that one parcel containing ZAR100 000.00 was discovered missing from one bag consignment of substantial amounts when the bag was opened at the South African Reserve Bank premises. This incident occurred in November 2019 and the repatriation originated from Matsapha International Airport,” the ank’s then Head of Strategy and Communication Zithulele Gina, said in response to questions that were sent to him.

He stated that following the discovery, the Bank conducted its own internal investigations after invoking internal incidence reporting procedures. “The internal investigations revealed that there were no procedural flaws or breaches in procedure within the CBE in the incident and no blame could be apportioned to any individual,” Gina further said. He said the bank, in covering its own processes, also covered processes for the Cash In Transit (CIT) Company that took over the consignment from the airport to deliver it at SARB  and as well as the SARB processes.


He said this processes were carried out in partnership with the CIT Company and the SARB. It was alleged that the CIT Company at one point offered to repay the lost money in full but, after apparent legal consultation, came back and made an offer to pay only half of the E100 000. “This was probably done so as to avoid taking sole and full responsibility for the lost money,” said the sources. The CBE Board, according to the well-placed sources, were incensed that the internal investigations did not find anyone to be liable for the missing money.
“That’s where the confusion lies; that neither the bank nor the security company is liable. The Board is now suspicious and suspects that someone is hiding the truth; which is what any normal person would think,” related some of the sources. Gina mentioned that even though the internal investigation had not found anyone liable, the matter was reported to local police service. “Upon conclusion of the bank’s internal investigations and after considering all aspects of the report (of the internal investigations), the board then directed that the matter be referred to the REPS,” he said.

The highly-placed sources said then that there was one particular head of department who was supposed to be held responsible for the lost money but, for unknown reasons, he was not taken to task. To this, Gina responded: “The repatriation process is a responsibility of various departments within the bank and involves external stakeholders and for security reasons it will not be appropriate of us to mention each individual involved. In this regard, the process is not the responsibility of one individual or single department.”


Asked what the SARB’s reaction had been regarding the lost money, Gina said there were agreements in place that catered for such eventualities. “…and the Central Bank has received very good cooperation from the South African Reserve Bank during the investigations,” he added. The R100 000 that went missing was not the first instance that the CBE experienced issues of money finding its way out of the bank’s possession under controversial circumstances. One such instance also occurred at the Matsapha Cash Centre, where all the currency and notes are kept in the country. The applicant stated in or around September 2015, his services were suspended by the respondent pending certain investigation relating to an incident that took place at the Matsapha Cash Centre.

The Matsapha Cash Centre is a facility owned by the respondent and it is where all the currency in notes and coins are kept in the country. G4S, meanwhile, says that as the country’s leading cash solutions company, it has the expertise and experience to provide efficient and secure cash-in-transit services, that can be tailored to meet the requirements of each of their customers. These services are reportedly carried out by security professionals, who have undergone specialised training to meet high industry standards.