Reserve Bank of Malawi Manager responsible for Currency, Planning and Policy, Morton Ngwalo, told Zodiak Online that the bank arrested suspects through engagements with various stakeholders.
The majority of the suspects were arrested during celebratory events such as wedding where they were caught in the act of behaviors associated with destruction of banknotes.
Ngwalo said four cases have, meanwhile, been concluded in the courts in which the convicts were fined.
He says the RBM is losing K12bn every year replacing worn out banknotes due to among other things, excessive folding, crumpling, scribbling and handling notes with wet or dirty hands.
The Currency, Planning and Policy manager says despite public warning against the malpractices, citizens continue to deface currency.
“For example, between November and December last year, 22 people got arrested and were taken to court after they were found destroying the Malawi currency,” he observed.
Ngwalo told Zodiak Online in an exclusive interview that the 22 arrests were through involvement of various stakeholders working with the central bank to arrest the problem.
Recently, the central bank introduced awareness campaigns across the country to sensitize citizens on proper handling of banknotes and teach them about security features of the Malawi currency.
Ngwalo observed that some citizens continue to have problems identifying security features of the currency, a development which, he says, is fueling the flow of counterfeit banknotes in the country.
Maximum penalty for production of counterfeit currency is K15m and seven years imprisonment, whilst for convicts circulating the same get maximum fine of K5m.