Malawi : two refugees arrested for making counterfeit banknotes

Malawi : two refugees arrested for making counterfeit banknotes

Police in Malawi’s Mangochi district have arrested two refugees for forging banknotes. They include a Burundian and a Rwandan. According to the police, the two people were caught with several 5,000 Malawian Kwacha notes and a machine that they used as a money printer. The suspects deny the charges. INFO SOS Médias Burundi

The concerned people are young ones. Emmanuel Saidi (19 years old) – Rwandan and Amosi Sean (30 years old) – Burundian live in Malawi under the refugee status.

“Police raided their place of work in Mangochi district headquarters. They were found in possession of 165,000 kwacha in 5,000 bills, a Canon printer, plain paper, razor blades, three printing color gels and scissors, among other things”, a law enforcement source said.

The 5000 Malawian kwacha note (nearly US$5) is the major coin in circulation in Malawi.

The incident comes just days after Lilongwe police arrested four people for possession and use of counterfeit Malawi kwacha and U.S. dollars. Police said they are looking for makers of the counterfeit notes, adding that the two youngsters will appear in court soon after the investigation is completed.

Last week, a businessman was arrested after depositing 50,000 Kwacha through a Mobile Money agent. At least seven people have been apprehended in the case, police said.

Xenophobia against refugees

In the center of Mangochi, anger has risen among the local populations that are demanding the departure of the refugees to the camps.

“They threatened to kill us, seize our property, told the police that this incident is further proof that the refugees are very harmful. We are really afraid”, explain Burundian and Congolese refugees.

They fear that there could be set-ups.

“Even this incident could be a set-up to incriminate us. We know these guys well, they spend the day selling a few items from their shop which, moreover, serves as their home. So where can these poor people get the money to buy these counterfeit money-making machines? And then they won’t really dare to live in the middle of the town knowing that they are involved in these shady activities. We demand thorough investigations so as not to incriminate them unfairly”, say refugees.

Administration authorities declared in December 2022 that at the end of the current school year, all refugees will have to return to their respective camps. The grace period was granted to them so as not to disrupt school activities, we learn.

Malawi has more than 103,000 refugees, the majority being made up of Congolese estimated at more than 46,000 while Burundians number more than 13,000 according to the UNHCR. Most of these refugees are accommodated in the Dzaleka camp located in the district of Dowa, about forty kilometers from the capital Lilongwe.

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