Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) says the circulation of counterfeit currency which has been on the rise lately is posing a threat to the value of real money, imploring Malawians to jealously safeguard the local currency.
Lately, counterfeit currency has become an issue of concern where in 2018 alone, the bank recorded 1 757 pieces of counterfeit notes, a development which speaks volumes that if left unchecked, counterfeit currency can adversely affect the economy as it impacts on prices and undermines credibility of the currency.
RBM deputy governor Grant Kabango in an interview on Monday expressed concern on the malpractice, saying the country continues to spend a lot of money on new currency features due to counterfeits.
He said when this continues to happen and at a large scale chances are it would erode the value of the currency, fuel inflation while the international community may lose confidence in the local unit.
“We have on many occasions heard about incidences of counterfeit currency of our Malawi kwacha through various sources. Large chunks of these fake currencies have of late been produced across the borders—in Tanzania and Zambia.
“We actually have a number of leads that are taking us to those jurisdictions and we continuously follow up on who supply them,” said Kabango.
He said it is therefore imperative that those in the legal fraternity not only know the features of their currency but also those prosecuting ensure that culprits are brought to book.
“We have succeeded in prosecuting a number of those who confessed when they got the fake currency. But these things are dynamic. Today you meet one the next day another starts the same business.
“All we are doing is to ensure that our currency should be as full proof as possible in terms of not being able to be counterfeit but this is a process,” the RBM deputy head said.
In response, Malawi Law Society (MLS) vice-president Patrick Mpaka said the courts are committed to mete out appropriate sentences to anyone found committing any kind of financial crimes as such actions may not only affect one quarter of the economy but the nation at large.
In its drive to curb counterfeit currency, RBM, earlier this year launched a mobile phone application named Malawi Kwacha App which demonstrates the security features of the country’s banknotes.