K500 fake currency hit Malawi, says Reserve Bank

Reserve Bank of Malawi says the country has been hit by counterfeit money especially targeting biggest bill of 500 kwacha, has since put a K50 000 rewards if anyone will come forward with information leading to the people behind the syndicate dealing in fake money, promising that all information received from well wishers will be kept confidential.

Nyasa Times recently reported that there is an influx of fake K500 notes in Lilongwe producing counterfeit K500 (about $3) banknotes

“The Reserve Bank of Malawi would like to warn the public of the proliferation of counterfeit K500 bank notes that are being exchanged for genuine K500 banknotes during occasions such as bridal showers and weddings,” said Governor of Reserve Bank Dr.  Perks Latoya said in a statement.

A fake K500 note seen by Nyasa Times  just looks like the original one except that it is too light and lacks the texture of the original. Almost all the features and colour are the same.

“The public is notified that the Malawi currency is protected by law and that according to section 17 of the Reserve Bank of Malawi Act, only the Reserve Bank of Malawi is mandated to issue notes and coins which can pass as legal tender currency in Malawi,” he said.

The fake notes have no water mark of John Chilembwe which can be seen on the left hand side of the genuine note. It also lacks the silver lining inside which is seen on the note when put against light or the sun. The paper used for the fake money is very soft compared to the one used for genuine money.

Economist said fake currency creates an unnecessary pressure on the market.

The syndicate gang dealing with face currency is said to be exchanging a K500 fake note with a K200 genuine note and also using it as a legal tender to unsuspecting traders.

Ligoya warned that any production, duplication, distribution, exchange or use of counterfeit currency in the country therefore constitutes as a serious offence under the Penal Code.

“Production of counterfeit currency is considered as a serious crime because it brings distortions in the volume of currency in circulation and undermines the integrity of the Malawi currency,” Ligoya said.

Malawians are being persuaded to put the note to the light to see the water mark and the K500 highlight, as well as to read the RMB thread scrip.

Reserve Bank said people should also look for switching K500 and Reserve Bank logo on the holographic stripe, besides feeling the tactile intaglio. On the front of the note, there is also a 3mm wide windowed thread.

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