- But identity still unknown as alleged person tried to hide face
Footage from a closed-circuit television (CCTV) seen by The Nation reveals that the mysterious man who allegedly deposited K2 million in Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) director general Lucas Kondowe’s bank account made every effort to hide away from the camera.
But police said yesterday they are still investigating the matter.
According to a bank deposit slip that The Nation saw, on March 27 2015 a Mr. A. Majid, whose cell-phone number is indicated as 0995 326 499, made a deposit of K2 million into Kondowe’s First Merchant Bank (FMB) Blantyre Branch account.
A CCTV footage—taken from FMB camera number seven—shows a man, wearing a baseball cap, a white T-shirt with black single lines on the shoulders making the deposit.
The clip shows the man, purportedly, Majid, or someone else to have made the deposit on behalf of Majid—was constantly lowering his head and leaning on the counter throughout the transaction period to hide from the aerial camera.
The transaction started at 10:28:11 am and lasted about 47 minutes.
The man, clutching a black handbag that may have contained the K2 million wrapped in a black plastic bag, calmly handed over the cash to the teller together with the deposit slip.
However, minutes later, the bank teller is seen to be writing on the deposit slip before handing it back to the depositor for signing.
Police are said to have interviewed the bank teller who is said to have told the investigators that he scribbled something on the deposit slip because the mysterious man made a mistake on the amount of money to be deposited as it was written K20 million instead of the K2 million he was depositing.
Even when a third person walked into the cubicle, the depositor never made any effort to raise his head or take notice of the new entrant who was present for about 10 minutes.
Malawi Police Service (MPS) national spokesperson Rhoda Manjolo yesterday said police had no new information on the investigations surrounding the K2 million deposits, other than waiting for the court to grant them an order to ask the bank to release the footage.
She said: “As you know this happened around Easter holiday and the police were still trying to get the courts to grant permission [to] ask the bank to release the footage. This is the information that we have up to now.”
In a brief interview, FMB spokesperson Sylvia Mataka said Malawi is a free country where anyone can wear anything in a bank.
“There was nothing wrong,” said Mataka, before cutting the line. Later, she could not pick our subsequent telephone attempts to contact her for further clarity on the bank’s position.
However, the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) says what happened at the bank might be interpreted as a security lapse on the part of the financial house.
RBM spokesperson Mbane Ngwira said allowing a customer to wear a cap in the bank defeats the whole reason of having security cameras in banking halls.
Ngwira said the CCTV cameras are part of the standard security requirement of any bank but every bank has to enhance its own security.
On his part, Kondowe said in a separate interview yesterday: “What happened at FMB was a criminal act and is a wake-up call.”
The ACB chief said he was earlier worried with the slow progress of the investigations, but later understood after the police have explained to him.
Said Kondowe: “There is a big question that the whole issue is raising. Who would want to lose his or her money that way?
“I have two theories regarding this. Either some people are not happy with the investigations that I have initiated since I joined ACB or some people are not happy with what I got at FMB. I somehow rule out the FMB employees because nobody can risk losing such amount of money.”
Kondowe, however, said the efforts have not dampened his zeal to fight corruption in the country.
“The K2 million is still in my account and after the issue has been concluded, I will donate the money to charity,” he said.
Kondowe is said to have alerted the Inspector General of Police Lexten Kachama soon after discovering a mysterious K2 million deposit into his bank account.