Malawi government intends to institute civil forfeiture proceedings against FDH Bank for financial crimes and pocketing proceeds of a crime.
The forfeiture proceedings relate to over 10 billion Malawi Kwacha of what government argues to be “unwarranted and unjustified” payments that FDH Bank received from the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM).
The shocking revelations have been laid bare in a letter dated 25 February 2025 by Director of Public Prosecution, Steven Kayuni to FDH Bank whose founder and the then CEO, Thom Mpinganjira, was convicted of corruption having attempted to bribe Malawi High Court judges.
Kayuni claims in his letter that criminal and financial investigations have established that FDH Bank received over 10 billion Malawi Kwacha payments from the Central Bank. The payment, argus Kayuni, were made without any justification and without following duly laid down procedures. It is on this basis that Kayuni further argues that the payments to FDH Bank amount to suspected money laundering activities and proceeds of a crime.
“The criminal and financial investigations have revealed that there were unwarranted and unjustified payments to yourselves between December 2018 and December 2020 concerning the nature, purpose and cost of Treasury Note Programme. A total amount of MWK 10.4 Billion was paid to yourselves without any justification, without following duly laid down procedures and amounts to suspected money laundering activities. Further, the said amount points to suspected FDH Bank’s unjust enrichment. The State strongly believes that the said 10.4 Billion unjust wealth are proceeds of a crime”, reads part of the letter that has been published by Platform for Investigative Journalism (PIJ-Malawi).
The letter also reveals that government intends to “institute civil forfeiture proceedings” against FDH bank, its Board members and senior management in line with the country’s Financial Crimes Act.
“As a competent authority pursuant to the Financial Crimes Act, we intend to institute civil forfeiture proceedings against yourselves for dealing with property that is connected to a financial crime. Further, as a result of State analysis and subsequent investigations, it is our strong belief that the Bank, Board members and senior management personnel of the bank may become amenable to answering financial crime charges in the near future.
The payments to FDH were made when Mpinganjira was still CEO. He only resigned when he was arrested for attempting to bribe five High Court Judges. Sentenced to nine years in prison, Mpinganjira is currently out own bail pending appeal hearing.
He was first released on bail in a controversial manner which saw his lawyer, Lusungu Gondwe being barred from representing him.