Dozens of farmers are suspected to have lost produce worth over K50 million after their purported buyer allegedly closed his shop and disappeared before settling their balances.
The businessperson, Assaf Muhammad based in Lilongwe, is said to have bought the produce from at least 40 farmers who were paid initial deposits with a promise to settle their balances a few days later, according to the farmers.
The trader also reportedly served people who wanted to buy the maize, rice, soya and groundnuts stockpiled at his shop in Bwalo La Njobvu c in Lilongwe.
Lilongwe Police Station spokesperson Kingsley Dandaula said the police received a complaint relating to the case and Muhammad, said to be on the run, will face the charge of obtaining goods by false pretence.
He said: “Actually, we will be handing over the case file to Fiscal Police [which handles finance-related crimes] for further investigations. More complainants are still coming and, at this point, we don’t know the total number of people alleged to have been duped.”
In random interviews, some of the complainants alleged that Muhammad kept shifting the dates when they would collect their balances. n