Conmen who masquaraded as officials from the High Court of Malawi, swindled K20 000 ($27) from Mariko Hussein of Ntchisi after promising to facilitate the pardoning of his son during this year’s Independence Anniversary celebration.
Hussein, whose son Fred is serving a five-year jail term at Ntchisi Prison, said the tricksters called him a few days before Independence Day, asking if he had a son who was serving a jail term at Ntchisi Prison.
“The caller, who did not identify himself, said he was calling from the High Court on behalf of his boss. He said my son was one of the seven prisoners to be pardoned at Ntchisi Prison as part of the 2016 Independence Day Celebrations. But, he said I had to pay for that to happen,” said Hussein.
He said the caller told him that the boss held a senior position at the High Court and was ready to help the son get pardoned.
Desperate to be reunited with his son, Hussein did not hesitate as he wanted his son to be released from prison.
Said Hussein: “I was told to send him K25 000 but I bargained down to K20 000, which I sent through Airtel Money as advised. And I was told to prepare groundnuts and potatoes for the caller and his accomplice who said they would come to get the boy released, but nobody came.”
Hussein said he realised later that they were tricksters when, after he sent the money, they stopped taking his calls. Later, the number could not be reached.
He said he suspected that some paralegals who interact with prisoners at Ntchisi Prison could have played the trick because they interact with inmates at the prison and get their relatives’ numbers.
Ntchisi Police confirmed receiving Hussein’s complaint and said they were investigating the issue.
Every year, the country’s Head of State pardons prisoners who have served at least half of their sentences, with good behaviour and were not convicted of serious offences. Some are pardoned because of their medical condition.