Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) has said a tendency of folding and placing banknotes in wet places by different users in the country has contributed to the loss of the currency worth over K12 billion annually.
Spokesperson for Central West Region Police, Inspector Alfred Chimthere revealed the development in an interview, saying the police together with the Reserve Bank organised a day-long workshop to sensitise the citizenry on the care of the country’s currency.
Speaking on Thursday in Lilongwe during the official opening of the workshop, Currency Planning Manager for the Reserve Bank, Muopeni Ngwalo said they engaged Malawi Police Service and other stakeholders to save the Kwacha Currency.
“We have engaged stakeholders in the city such as directors of ceremony (for ceremonies such as weddings), religious and market leaders, mostly fish vendors among others so that they can assist us to curb these malpractices,” Ngwalo said.
He said Section 54 of the Reserve Bank of Malawi Act of 2018 criminalizes those allegedly found in currency destructive behaviours and could face penalties of a maximum fine of K15 million and seven years imprisonment with hard labour if found guilty.
Commissioner responsible for the Central West Region, Merlyne Yolamu said police through community policing will continue sensitizing the public on their role and responsibilities on the need of taking care of the Malawi Kwacha notes.
“We must spread the message on the care of currency in order to save billions of kwacha that are lost by the reserve bank annually through banknotes replacements,” she said.
She highlighted that police observed that most kwacha currencies are damaged during different activities such engagements, send-offs, weddings, paper Sundays, anniversaries and markets days, especially for those selling fresh fish, just to mention a few.
During his presentation, Senior Superintendent Mojah Phiri who is also the Police Deputy Director of Prosecutions Branch dwelled on the enforcement of the law to protect the currency and the participation of community policing in the matter.
On his part, Assistant Superintendent Ralph Mpophiwa of Community Policing Branch, focused his presentation on the role and responsibility of masters of ceremony and market leaders in the care of the currency.