Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Charles Msosa, has warned the public against fraudsters who target unsuspecting prospective developers by impersonating the ministry’s officers.
Msosa issued the warning a statement seen by Nyasa Times after presidential adviser and former Cabinet minister Vuwa Kaunda lost about K1.4 million in a fake plot allocation and Minister of Mines Aggrey Masi and former Cabinet minister Patricia Kaliati as other victims
Other victims include former minister of Agriculture Allan Chiyembekeza, director of public affairs in the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) Gerald Viola, Malawi Enterprise Development Fund (Medef) chief operations officer Dingiswayo Jere and son to Speaker of Parliament Richard Msowoya have also been victims, according to published reports.
There are indications that they were all allegedly duped by the same person when they deposited cash into an Airtel Money account belonging to Geoffrey Kaunga.
But Msosa in a statement warned the public of the existence of such fraudsters, advising that all transactions to do with plots are done through a government account and bank certified cheques and not through any other agent.
“Payments are made either by cash or bank certified cheques payable to Malawi government. The appointed banks issue appropriate receipts and government simultaneously issues general receipts for the money paid to the bank,” reads the statement.
Msosa did not rule out a possibility of insiders conniving with fraudsters who are said to be preparing fake title deeds or lease documents in respect of public land which has already been allocated to other developers by the ministry.
He said the ministry is seeking the assistance of the Malawi Law Society to advise its members who authenticate documents and verify all legal instruments before registration to identify the persons involved beyond reasonable doubt in accordance with Section 105 and Rule 6 (2) of the Registered Land Act.
National Police deputy spokesperson Thomeck Nyaude said the police have received complaints from a number of people and are currently investigating the matter.
But rights activist Timothy Mtambo said he believes the suspected fraudster was simply an agent of the corrupt State machinery.