Prison officers accused of fueling mobile money fraud

Public Relations Officer (PRO) for Malawi Prison Service, Chimwemwe Shaba on Tuesday said some officers within the prison service were fueling mobile money fraud in the country.

In an interview, he said the ill-minded officers were supplying inmates with phones and sim cards, which they use to steal money from people.

"Besides the sweeping exercises that we conduct every fortnight to remove contrabands, there are some unpatriotic prison officers who continue to supply inmates with phones and sim cards making the fight against mobile money fraud unsuccessful,” Shaba said.

He blamed weakness in sim card registration as another challenge fueling the act since one person could manage to register over 60 sim cards.

chimwemwe shaba
Shaba: the root lies in sim card registration

"It puzzles us as to how one should be able to register more than ten sim cards with one Identity Card (ID). As a country, we need to find a quick solution since a lot of people are losing their money from these crooks,” the PRO said.

According to Shaba, in the year 2021, they registered 16 cases of prison officers supplying inmates with phones and sim cards.

“So far, the prison service has managed to dismiss four prison officers who were involved and the other 14 await judgment,” he said.

1 Police Spokesperson, James Kadadzera said according to their own investigations, three-quarters of fraudsters are prisoners in different prisons of the country.

"We have been fighting mobile money fraud for the past seven years. But I can assure you that most of these thieves are prisoners from different prisons in Malawi,” he said.

PRO for Airtel Malawi, Norah Chavula Chirwa said it was possible for an individual to register more than three sim cards with one 1 ID because currently, there are no regulatory restrictions to that effect.

"Police is mandated to investigate and prosecute fraudsters. The role of Airtel is to report to Police any case of fraud. Our role is to help with call logs, statements, and witnesses for investigations and prosecution of fraud cases," she said.

The Director General for Malawi Regulatory Authority (MACRA), Daud Suleiman, recently announced that they were planning to intervene on mobile money fraud by among other means blocking phones and sim cards that have been detected to be involved in mobile money fraud.