Attorney General Chikosa Silungwe has moved to clear his name in the K1.6 million ‘golden handshake’ deposit into his bank account, saying it was made by a yet-to-be-identified woman.
His reaction follows a copy of a bank deposit slip that went viral indicating that one Faizal Aboo deposited the said amount into Silungwe’s bank account held at National Bank Gateway Mall Service Centre in Lilongwe.
The slip indicated that the money was deposited by Aboo of mobile phone number 0999277000 into bank account number 1155517 on September 18 2020.
But in an interview this week, Silungwe said he took up the issue with Aboo, who denied playing any part in the transaction.
He said investigations with National Bank of Malawi plc established that an unidentified woman made the deposit.
Said Silungwe: “There was a transaction to the amount of K1.6 million in cash into my account. I made inquiries with my bank, they confirmed the name, an Asian sounding name, as a person who purportedly deposited the money and had indicated their [phone] number.
“I got in touch with the person [Aboo], but he denied knowledge of the transaction the same day, Friday [September 25 2020]. I instructed my bank to withdraw the money from my account because I had the feeling that it was not deposited in good faith and the same day the bank withdrew the money and put in one of their suspense accounts.”
He said investigations through closed-circuit television cameras indicated that the person who made the deposit was a “black woman who at the time of the deposit was heavily staked, hid her face with a heavy wrap”.
Said Silungwe: “She seemed to have been part of a bigger group and the bank is still investigating the issue.
“I am yet to be informed of their final findings. I don’t know where they got Faizal’s number. All I know is that the minute I formed the view that it can’t be right, I told the bank to remove the money.
“I don’t want to speculate why someone would want to do that. The law enforcement agencies are dealing with the matter and maybe we will know the motive when the people have been discovered.”
In a separate interview yesterday, Aboo said he had already reported the matter to Limbe Police Station.
He said: “They [police] are investigating.”
Limbe Police Station public relations officer Patrick Mussa confirmed that Aboo lodged the complaint and that investigations were in progress to bring to book the culprits.
Meanwhile, National Bank, head of operations Brian Boby said the bank is in the process of investigating the matter.
He said: “At the request of the account holder, the money has been put into a suspence account whilst we complete our investigations and determine the next course of action.”
Silungwe becomes the second top government official to have mysterious funds deposited into his bank account after former Anti-Corruption Bureau director-general Lucas Kondowe had a K2 million windfall in 2015.
Kondowe also reported to police the mysterious deposit into his First Merchant Bank (now First Capital Bank) account, saying he did not know the depositor. The funds were deposited into his account on March 27 2015 by a Mr Majid who police questioned, but the conclusion of the matter was not publicised.