Don’t be so sure that the K2 000 notes you are using are all genuine, for an unknown amount of suspected fake notes have been ‘spirited’ into circulation.
This is the warning police in Lilongwe issued on Friday after they arrested Grevazio Nyirenda, 48, and Peter Andiwilire Mshani, 35, whom they accuse of using some of the fake notes.
Police found K428 000 of the fake notes in Mshani’s possession, after his cover had been blown by Nyirenda who had been arrested earlier after a beer-drinking spree on December 14.
According to the on-going investigations, the police believe the amount of the fake notes is much bigger, as some three other suspects may have been in league with Nyirenda and Mshani and may be splashing around their spoil of the illegal money.
There was head-shaking and exclamations among some police officers and other onlookers when the fake notes were displayed at Lilongwe Police Station on Friday.
“This is dangerous criminal sophistication!” one onlooker exclaimed, upon noting and grudgingly admitting that, at face value, the crooks who designed and printed the fake notes could easily dupe people with it.
However, there were two give-away signs that exposed the fake notes. The K428 000 wads of notes shared only three serial numbers, with the same serial number appearing on a bundle of notes, and the paper used for printing the notes was poor.
Lilongwe Police Station publicist Kingsley Dandaula said the thrust of the investigations is two-fold.
“We want people to scrutinise their K2 000 notes and help us find the fake notes now in circulation. We also want to arrest everyone connected with this illegal printing of the fake notes,” he said.
Dandaula said a barman who was reconciling December 14 night sales at Smokers’ Bar at Kaphiri, on the outskirts of Lilongwe, discovered that K20 000 of the notes were fake and he reported the matter to nearby Chisime Police Unit on December 15.
At 10pm on December 24, Nyirenda seems to have made another visit to the bar. But this time, the alert barman noted that the K2 000 note he paid for some drinks was fake.
The barman led a group of men into accosting Nyirenda over the fake money and his probable use of similar illegal notes a few days earlier.
When searched, Nyirenda was found with more of the fake notes.
“Nyirenda ended up disclosing that his alleged accomplice and cash-provider was Mshani, who was found staying at Inner Town Lodge. A police search there yielded the K428 000 of the fake notes in Mshani’s possession.
“We will now be handing over the suspected fake notes to the Reserve Bank of Malawi for analysis. If our suspicions prove true, Nyirenda and Mshani will be charged with being found in possession of, and using, fake currency,” Dandaula said.