The Reserve Bank of Malalwi (RBM) has said it will soon start prosecuting people found damaging the country’s banknotes in accordance with Section 376 of the Penal Code and Section 23 of the Banking Act.
The Penal Code stipulates that any person, who melts down, breaks up, defaces by stamping thereon any name, word or mark, or uses otherwise than as currency any coin current for the time being in Malawi, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
This follows a mock wedding the central bank organised in Lilongwe on Tuesday to showcase best practices in handling money.
It has transpired that weddings, engagement, bridal showers and other celebrations are platforms where clean banknotes are damaged.
RBM Governor, Dalitso Kabambe, said that the country is spending nearly K13 billion every year in replacing damaged banknotes.
He highlighted that K20, K50 and K100 notes are the worst affected and are being replaced every quarter.
“It is bad because, every time you go to any celebration such as a wedding, you see people throwing money and stepping on it, and these are new notes and within two or three weeks they return to the bank damaged and we are spending a lot of money to replace them,” Kabambe said.
He warned the public against the vice, stressing than soon they would start prosecuting people found doing the same.
“According to our laws, it is an offence to do what these people do. No one has been prosecuted for this offence thus far. We will embark on a massive campaign to educate the masses and, come next year, if this continues, we will endeavour and take that step to prosecute all those that would deface the banknotes,” Kabambe added.
He emphasised the need for society to embrace cashless transactions, mobile payment systems and internet innovations that banks, mobile phone operators, merchant shops and other service providers are introducing.