Police in Lilongwe have warned minibus and bus operators against asking people to pose as passengers to lure prospective customers to board their vehicles.
The warning follows the arrest of 20 people on Friday for allegedly posing as passengers in different buses at Lilongwe Bus Depot.
Speaking on Saturday at Lilongwe Bus Depot, Lilongwe Police Station community policing coordinator Malango Mwasinga said some bus operators, particularly drivers and conductors, were encouraging the practice.
“It is sad that minibus and bus operators allow people to pose as passengers to dupe prospective customers. The practice holds real passengers for long hours,” he said.
Central West Region Police executive committee chairperson Alex Chapondera asked Minibus Owners Association of Malawi (Moam) and Passengers Welfare Association (Pawa) to coordinate to get rid of ‘fake passengers’.
“They are destroying your businesses because people are now opting for taxis,” he said.
Moam national vice-chairperson Herman Msowoya said the association is exploring ways to end the use of ‘fake passengers’.
He said: “We pledge to stop this practice and we will talk to our drivers and conductors.
“We also want to bring in (Lilongwe Bus Depot) buses which operate from outside. We want to ensure a one-turn-at a time basis to ensure sanity.”
Pawa chairperson Joseph Chisale said the police call was timely.
“Real passengers endure long hours of waiting before the buses depart the depot,” he said.