K10 billion externalised from Malawi every month


Malawi loses US$10 million (about K10 billion) worth of forex every month through cartels that involve senior government officials, banks, police and businesspersons.

This is according to a published report by The Investigator Magazine.

The report comes days after Kamuzu International Airport Police arrested five women who were found with 338 ATM cards upon their arrival from Dubai.

The women work as couriers and they fly into Dubai and Johannesburg every two weeks to cash where they deposit K500 million for several businesses run by Chinese and Asians in Lilongwe, reported The Investigator.

In return, they receive a commission of of between K5 million and K10 million.

The arrest of the women, who were released on bail on the same day, was actually a ploy to force their sponsors to increase their commission.

“These ladies, their Police and Lilongwe handlers wanted an increase in commission and staged the arrest, but it went out and now they have a real case with the whole country watching. It is a scam gone wrong,” a source told The Investigator.

According to The Investigator Magazine, the scam involves prominent politicians, businesspersons, cabinet ministers, Asians in Lilongwe led by a Sheikh who stays along Lilongwe Mchinji Road and Chinese nationals as well as police officers, prophets and bank officials.

They hire businesswomen and young men to collect local bank cards from college students and businesses which are used for forex externalization.

The Sheikh runs a charity located along the Lilongwe-Mchinji road where the premises are also allegedly used for illegal foreign exchange.

“Those close to the Sheikh said billions of kwachas are dropped by businesses of Malawians of Asian origin and the Sheikh facilitates the transfers,” The Investigator Magazine reported.

The Sheikh, however, denied the allegations saying he only runs a charity to support Malawian orphans.

A prominent Prophet in Lilongwe is also alleged to be involved in the illegal trade and has been exchanging hundreds of thousands of dollars on behalf of jailed Chinese businessman Yunhua Lin who is in Maula Prison but is given freedom to run his operations.

The Investigator Magazine reported that between March and April this year, another Lilongwe based Chinese national identified only as Hua managed to change K18 billion into foreign currency which was sent to South Africa, Dubai and China.

“The Chinese national swooped all the black-market forex at higher rates and asked for all currencies for weeks to be surrendered.

“The Police allegedly provided escorts to those changing money and vehicles with dollars, rands, and even Mozambican meticals received special protection as the man gave “Christmas” to anyone who could change the dollars,” the magazine reported.

Currently, Malawi is in the middle of a forex crisis which started over a year ago.

The Reserve Bank of Malawi said earlier this month that the forex in government’s reserves was not enough to last a month.

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