Malawi court discharges South African in fake Travelers’ Cheques case

The Mzuzu First Magistrate Court has discharged a South African national in a case where he was accused of attempting to defraud Standard Bank of Malawi’s  Mzuzu branch of MK2 million using fake American Express Travelers’ Cheques because the state failed to prove its case.

Last month Police in Mzuzu nabbed Bonface Mkosi, 47 of Short Street in Cape Town, South Africa and charged him with uttering false documents and forgery contrary to section 360 of the Penal Code and section 358 respectively.

When the case came for the first hearing the State asked the court for adjournment to allow for two more witnesses from London whom it claimed have been called to prove the genuineness of the Cheques.

But Mkosi’s lawyer Christon Ghambi of CHRAM Associates in his oral argument said  the State had wrongly charged his client.

Ghambi: Hearsay can not be admitted as evidence in court
Ghambi: Hearsay can not be admitted as evidence in court

Ghambi also argued that the State’s evidence was hearsay, which he said is not admissible in a Court of Law.

According to  court records, on 16th January, 2013, Mkosi in a company of his friend currently not traced went to Mzuzu Standard Bank branch where they wanted to cash Travelers’ Cheques  worth US$6,000 (MK2 million).

Police Prosecutor Peter Chiona told the court that Mkosi handed over 12 Travelers’ Cheques which were in US$500 denominations and a passport numbered 7324400362 to the bank teller for transaction.

The Cheques were tendered in court as part of evidence.

First Magistrate Cuthbert Phiri said the state failed to bring all the necessary witnesses from the ABSA Bank, the agents for American express or to invite the real owners American Express.

Phiri also said the state failed to prove that Mkosi indeed forged the Cheques or it is the Bank.

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