Malawi has suddenly become a haven for well-known money launderers, and despite several embarrassing gaffes, President Lazarus Chakwera’s administration seems never to learn from the past- it keeps discovering more and more dubious characters in the name of investment.
The Investigator Magazine can also reveal that there is a high-ranking “cartel of thieves” in the Judiciary, Lawyers, Malawi Police Service, State House, and the ruling party, Malawi Congress Party (MCP), who are salivating over dirty money by providing diplomatic passports to facilitating unfreezing dirty money in suspected cases of money laundering.
This week, two gentlemen- Micheal Spies and Daniel Dank, accompanied by a lady, announced a mouthwatering K900 billion (US$350 million) investment at Likoma Island, another spam project, which we can ably say will not happen but is aimed at laundering funds using the name of Malawi internationally.
The Investigator Magazine has further been told that the two- were in Malawi to meet Willem Steenkamp, aka Dr William Bilderberg, the man arrested for posing as an investor after he brought in US$20 million and magically was awarded a Malawi passport.
Our analysts have debunked the “investor” details, raising questions as to why the Malawi Government, scandal after scandal, still fails to do proper due diligence on people it associates with, especially those near public funds and land.
“Liberia has no embassy in Mauritius,” a shocked Liberian official at their Pretoria mission told The Investigator Magazine on Friday after we questioned the credentials that Micheal Spies, who announced the K900 billion deal, claimed to be.
Spies, whose nationality could not be specific- has another name, which he uses, according to his associates, and he is from either Hungary or another Eastern European country and has no links to Liberia.
Malawi media reported him as being the Liberian Ambassador to Mauritius.
“Only stupid officials would welcome such a liar and think he has a bag of money to share. You would think this administration learned from Bridgin Foundation and East Bridge, but they don’t seem to have done so. Spies lied about his credentials; what else is he lying about,” asked our source next to the dealers.
Spies, Dank and Steenkamp have been doing money transfers in Eastern Europe. According to our sources, they last were in the Czech Republic, where they hid some cash, and the deal with the locals went south.
Dank, a German national, was once “Malawi Honorary Consul” in Belgium in the German-speaking area- and Malawi diplomats recall his frequent visits between 2013 and 2014 and called his “suspicious character” always questionable.
An Israel Dobadoba, who was identified as President of East Bridge Estates Srl Hiam Tzutziashvili, used Romania as its address- and for days Agriculture Minister Sam Kawale lied to Malawians that the company had “production lines” in Romania- which we debunked and found out that the company and its concocted presence was a fluke.
The new company that has been said to have K900 billion to change the face of Likoma into a tourist island -Augustus Ltd or Augustus 1 Ltd are both suspicious and one -Augustus Ltd shows that it was dissolved in 2019.
Spies is quoted telling a local radio station that the company is based in “Europe”, a red flag showing that something was amiss since they could not disclose the company’s location, investing US$350 million at Likoma.
While the first Augustus Ltd was registered in Birmingham, the second one was London-based and was rocked with resignations, some even lasting a single day, where one was appointed a director on 23 August only to resign on 24th of August 2004.
The second company, Augusts 1 Limited, has two addresses- one virtual and another on the registration certificate- making it difficult to follow up in case the Malawi Treasury quickly issues another “sovereign guarantee” to facilitate the investment.
The Investigator Magazine has been told that the three- Spies, Dank and Steenkamp are all partners in some money movement internationally, and the visit to Malawi was to have brought in cash to ease his troubles back to Malawi.
It seems the trio has money business elsewhere, and they have now found Malawi a safe haven for hiding their cash. The Likoma announcement was meant to cover their funds flow from other sources worldwide.
We can reveal that the Interpol alert on Steenkamp has disappeared just as he is about to have his cash unfrozen at Ecobank this week after allegedly spending K500 million to palm oil the wheels of Malawi justice, which seems to be now pegged at the highest bidder.
“After hiding the money in Czech, someone wanted to keep the stash there. The Interpol alert was to block him from returning, that’s when he met …… (from State House) and others who roped in the lawyers to try and spread the cash,” explained the source.
The K22 billion flagged and stopped by the Financial Intelligence Agency is set to be released on Tuesday, 12 February 2024, after a court in Blantyre is likely to unfreeze the funds.
The complicity of Judicial, Police and Government officials to share and loot illegal money is risking Malawi’s image, already tainted by numerous scandals of dubious characters having its “diplomatic passport.”
Within four years of President Chakwera- high profile crooks seem to have found a haven in Malawi, and others have even been given signed government sovereign guarantees, and the scandals seem to have not taught the President to be cautious to avoid tarnishing the country’s image.
“Bridging Foundation, East Bridge, fertiliser from a butchery, the Minister of Transport’s fake five trillion-kwacha Chinese projects, the Egyptian 3-billion-dollar fake investments, and now we have these three in Malawi, one wonders why President Chakwera can’t hire competent people to do their jobs without embarrassing the nation,” questioned our investigative officer.
The country also holds a Chinese national at Maula prison who has access to everything, and he is said to have paid K200 million to politicians, a magistrate, police and prison officials to have his freedom, including the possibility of parole.
“Malawi officials are queuing up at Steenkamp to collect money. That is why his alleged extradition case is not going to court, and I don’t think anyone informed South Africans. That Interpol alert was fake and was meant to fleece him money. It has disappeared. Malawi is now a haven for criminals,” says a money laundering expert.
The Interpol red notice has indeed disappeared and does not appear on any South African sites.
This is a developing story; we will update it on Tuesday, 12 February 2024.