Malawi loses K14bn in a year through money laundering

Officials from the Financial Intelligence Authority have revealed that Malawi has lost a staggering K14 billion last year alone through money laundering.

Head of FIU Atuweni-Juwayeyi Agbermodji : Worried with financial crimes

Financial Intelligence Authority director Atuweni Abomeji told the Legal Affairs Committee of parliament that the authority  (FIA) has so far recorded 160 cases of money laundering.

“Out of these cases,    we have concluded 25 cases,” she said.

She said most of the money laundering cases borders on illegal externalisation of forex.

Abomeji said so far the authority has managed to recover  K22.4 million through bank accounts freeze and asset confiscation using the money laundering and fight of terrorism law.

“We are not relenting, we are now working very closely with Malawi Revenue Autority (MRA),  Reserve Bank of Malawi and fiscal police to deal with the issue,” she said.

Fiscal agencies in the country are reportedly  investigating several companies suspected of illegally externalising billions of kwacha through, among other things, counterfeit invoices.

Local press investigations etablished that the companies—mostly owned by Malawi residents of Asian origin—also use fake Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) documents and shell firms in the name of importing goods while externalising foreign currency from the country.

President Peter Mutharika said in May 2016 when he opened the Reserve Bank of Malawi Mzuzu’s branch that the fraudulent movement of foreign exchange offshore is aggravating the poverty of Malawians.

“This country is losing a lot of money in forex externalisation. We are losing more money than the aid we need from anywhere. We must hurry to arrest and slay this monster of forex externalisation once and for all,” Mutharika said.

The country’s anti-money laundering expert Jai Banda agreed that misinvoicing leads to illicit financial flows as money which is not supposed to be externalised is smuggled out of the country.

Banda, a lawyer by profession, said the flourish of money laundering in the country is due to stringent foreign exchange control regulations which result in money being exported through the parallel market.

“When this happens it is difficult [for authorities] to determine source of funds hence facilitating money laundering,” he said.

Banda said lack of patriotism and insecurity on the part of individuals who indulge in the illegal practices is another setback in the fight against money laundering.

“On the other hand, some acts are just there to facilitate tax evasion. Illicit financial flows are real in Malawi as they are anywhere else,” he said.

The country’s economy needs to be protected from money laundering “criminals” to uplift Malawi’s socio-economic integrity in the public and private sectors.


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6 years ago

Koma Malawi is not serious. Out of MK14 billion illicit transctions (money laundered), FIA has only managed to freeze around MK12.4 million. No wonder Chaponda has no case to answer. FIA just go home and eat nsima at taxpayers expense. The fact no one in government or it’s departments, are working but still commanding a salary, is also stealing. So ACB and FIA staff members are all stealing from taxpayers otherwise criminals would have been behind bars……a lot of them.

6 years ago

The Reserve Bank must wake up. How can you give all Foreign Exchange Bureau Business to Lebanese and Indians. My gut feel is that the country is losing a lot more. Cancel those licenses to Lebanese and Indians and ask everybody to re-apply.

6 years ago
Reply to  Panganani

Its an elaborate government-create corrupt system that even if you cancel licenses already issued to Lebanese and Indians, money laundering will still be there. The government isn’t serious about rooting out corruption and they know that Lebanese and Indians pay people a lot of money to remain in business. cancelling these licences will only be killing the messengers……deal with the kingpins at Reserve Bank, Treasury and Ministry of Finance.

H. Mussa Junior
H. Mussa Junior
6 years ago

Chifukwa chimene izi zimachitikira tikuchidziwa. A Goodall Gondwe benefits. How do you expect him to fight forex externalisation?

Angel of Doom
Angel of Doom
6 years ago

That’s the problem we have in Malawi, You concentrate on innocent people, Forex is going to China, the Chinese and the biggest culprits and you mention Gondwe, za zii, muzingo lirabe barking up wrong trees

6 years ago
Reply to  Angel of Doom

During slavery there were some chiefs who used to sell their own subjects to slave traders. We are also seeing instances where our political leaders are opening doors to the Chinese and Chinese to loot our coffers. Smart Malawians have connected the dots and have figured that Gondwe is one of the many political leaders who have opened the doors to these Indians and Chinese. Theyr’e selling their own resources from their own “house” to foreigners. How stupid can that be. What don’t you understand Angel of Doom in what H. Mussa Junior is alluding to. How should we spelt… Read more »

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