Mitumba hawker ‘loses’ USD 1 million windfall, gets arrested

A 40-year-old man’s rags-to-riches dream was abruptly ended on Thursday after a local bank called the police on him for ‘attempted fraud’.

Simon Wafula, a mitumba clothes dealer in Kisumu, was arrested after presenting a ‘fake million dollar bill’ to the forex section of a Kisumu bank he had retrieved from his merchandise.

The unwitting Kibuye Market trader who was elated after stumbling on the ‘note’ that he believed would change his life forever was turned down by the first bank after the preposterousness of his demand was ascertained.

Adamant, Wafula proceeded to the next bank and requested to have his unprecedented jackpot converted into Kenyan currency, which, were it not a fantasy, would have been equivalent to nearly Ksh100 million.

Kisumu’s next millionaire would, however, have his dream crushed pitilessly after the unamused bank attendant chose to alert the authorities over dismissing him.

Kisumu County Police Commander Titus Yoma, confirming the incident, said the suspect who was held at Kisumu Central police was oblivious of the fact the piece of paper in hand was valueless.

“He went to one bank and asked if it could be converted to Kenyan money but was informed that it wasn’t real. He decided to inquire in another bank,” said Yoma.

“The piece of paper looks like a dollar note on one side but on the other side, it has what looks like church announcements printed. He was reported by the second bank,” he added.

The man was later released since no charges could be pressed against him.

The US Dollar (US$) is the official currency of the United States and its insular territories. Since 1935, it has been printed in seven denominations: $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100.

Previously there have also been four to five larger denominations: $500, $1,000, $5,000, and $10,000 were printed for general use (in large transactions), and a $100,000 bill for certain internal transactions.

High-denomination notes were issued, for example during the War of 1812 ($1,000 notes authorized by an act dated June 30, 1812) and during the American Civil War, ($500 and $1,000). 

During the Federal banknote issuing period (1861 to present), the earliest high-denomination notes included three-year interest-bearing notes of $500, $1,000, and $5,000, authorized by Congress on July 17, 1861.


Additional reporting by  Eric_Ndubi

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