Inspector General (IG) of Police George Kainja on Tuesday met officials from several banks in the country following a security lapse that has seen the banks being targets of robberies.
In an interview after the closed-door meeting held at Limbe Police Training School, Kainja said they were compelled to meet officials from the banks to identify strategies in dealing with the problem.
Said the IG: “As Malawi Police Service, we thought it would be important for us to engage so that we come up with solutions that, at the end of the day, are tailor-made to answer the crime situation on the ground.
“Malawians may be aware that in the last two months, we have seen a spate of attacks against financial institutions and banks. A total of 10 crimes have been recorded in the recent past and this is worrisome.”
Kainja, who described the engagement with the banks as fruitful, said the police have since committed to providing free armed guard services to the banks, provide patrols where there is high concentration of banks and that banks themselves should enhance their security controls.
In recent weeks, some of the country’s commercial banks have been robbed of millions of kwacha, raising questions on the state of security in the country. Some of the affected banks include FDH Bank and First Capital Bank.
Kainja said it is important for banks to be protected as they are an engine of the country’s economy and their collapse could result in the collapse of the economy.
The police chief, however, assured Malawians that they are doing everything they can to arrest culprits, adding that their information shows that there are several syndicates of thieves targeting the banks and that one has already been busted.
He said the suspects who are in police custody have since provided names of the other syndicates and that police will soon round them up.
In a separate interview, National Bank of Malawi (NBM) chief risk officer Charles Ulaya said the engagement was ideal and that the banks have received support they have been looking for.
He said: “From the engagement we have had, the IG has been very open to the extent of the kind of support we wanted from police. The police alone cannot work without an engagement process like this.”
Ulaya said on their part, they will also work on some weaknesses that were pointed out during the engagement.
On April 19, K10.9 million was stolen from First Capital Bank’s Limbe Branch by robbers who entered the bank through the rooftop and later drilled a hole in the banking vault using grinders.
The robbery took place after robbers also hit FDH Bank’s Lunzu Branch on April 17 where they went away with about K30 million.
In recent years, other banks that have also been victims of robberies include NBS Bank, NBM and Standard Bank.