As a shortage of foreign currency threatens to derail Malawi's economic growth, authorities have clamped down on illegal dealers of foreign currency with the court fining a Chinese national who was caught trying to smuggle out thousands of US dollars and arresting two local businessmen found in possession of fake foreign currencies.
Shen Chong was on Thursday, 6 August 2009 fined K500,000 by the Blantyre Magistrate court after pleading guilty to charges of attempting to externalise US$39,151. He has since paid the fine. Chong was arrested at Chileka Airport on 24 June 2009 while wanting to board a South African Airways plane.
The Mzuzu Principal Resident Magistrate Court denied bail to two Malawian nationals, Mustafa Kaweche, 48 and Daniel Jere, 52, who were found with US$4 million in fake currency.
Authorities have linked the two incidents to a severe shortage of forex that has hit Malawi due to continued foreign exchange scarcity in the market and lack of demand for huge local development and project financing.
Gregory Gondwe is a Malawian journalist who started writing in 1993. He is also a media consultant assisting several international journalists pursuing assignments in Malawi. He holds a Diploma and an Intermediate Certificate in Journalism among other media-related certificates. He can be contacted on . Follow him on Twitter at @Kalipochi.