…a dozen accounts frozen with billions kwacha
…on Interpol list, bought Malawi passport
…wants ECO Bank Managers jailed
Malawi is a crime scene, but the impunity at the Immigration Department and the High Court of Malawi is baffling, such that criminals can walk in with K25 billion cash, buy a Malawi passport, and soon start suing institutions that are following the rule of law, and nothing happens to anyone.
Such is the case of one self-styled Dr. William Bilderberg, who appeared in Malawi earlier this year with K25 billion cash (US$20 million) and set up Bilderberg Limited, but he was a fugitive running away from South Africa where he had fleeced some people after asking them to invest.
The man now known as Dr. Bilderberg, his real name is Willie Steenkamp who is on the wanted list by private and public investigators who claim he was a Financial Consultant and the Head of an International investment company that promised investors massive returns.
“He is renowned for the Wurban scam,” reads the notice which puts his date of birth as 4 September 1973, and that his partner Jacobus Johannes Christoffel Du Toit, also disappeared with the investments thought to be in hundreds of millions of dollars.
Steenkamp disappeared in 2016
According to Specialised Security Services of South Africa, a private investigator that pushed for the tracking of Steenkamp, he was a notorious Ponzi scheme and fugitive, who scammed people through his Wurban Bank and disappeared in 2016 without trace.
The SSS says he was also busy in the Standerton, Bethal, and Secunda area with his dealings that date back to 2012 when he apparently conned people out of millions of rands.
Authorities in South Africa and Interpol have been trying to apprehend Steenkamp for years due to fraud charges he is suspected of committing in Venezuela and South Africa.
In South Africa, he is accused of running a Ponzi Scheme through Wurban Bank Group and Wurban Sovereign Trust, alongside Jacobus Johannes Christoffel Du Toit.
It was Venezuela that officially put Steenkamp on Interpol’s red notice.
The Investor Malawi Government welcomed
Steenkamp arrived in Malawi in October 2022 and the Government welcomed him as an investor within a year, despite the shortage of passports, he managed to obtain a Malawi passport which will shock Malawians struggling to obtain one.
Days after arrival he incorporated Bilderberg Limited in Malawi on 12 October 2022.
His associate in Malawi was George Phambala, who is said to be Inkosi Phambala of Ntcheu and he claimed he had connection to President Lazarus Chakwera after his arrest.
The K25 billion cash that froze ECOBANK
In August this year, Steenkamp wired $20 million from Forex Plus Australia to his account held at Ecobank Malawi. The Bank moved quickly and froze the account.
Steenkamp filed for an injunction with the High Court in Blantyre to access the money. The High Court Judge Kenan Manda granted the injunction. The Financial Intelligence Agency asked Ecobank to ignore the order as the money was suspected to be part of criminal proceeds.
Steenkamp dragged the Bank to court for contempt which was scheduled for 11 October 2023 before the same Judge Ken Manda.
Arrested on Tuesday, 17 October, together with Chief Phambala, his family
Steenkamp, who was using the alias Dr. William Bilderberg, was apprehended alongside Edward Phambala in a joint operation conducted by the Fiscal Police and Financial International Authority (FIA), and according to the SSS arrested were his family members.
His wife Yolanda Magdalene Steenkamp, daughter Chene Engelbrecht, and an associate Mark Deryck Cromhout were also arrested according to the SSS.
Steenkamp had established Bilderberg Limited under the name Dr. William Bilderberg. Shockingly, court documents have revealed that the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) allowed Steenkamp, despite his Interpol status and facing fraud and money laundering charges, to invest $20 million in Malawi.
Malawian detectives discovered that Steenkamp had fake travel documents and IDs suspected to have been illegally obtained.
As a result, he and Phambala are facing charges of forgery, uttering false documents, and money laundering.
Steenkamp started distributing billions around
On Monday 23 October 2023 the FIA obtained a preservation order over Steenkamp accounts at Ecobank and a dozen other Malawians who are suspected of having received money or transacted with him to hide his money.
The order, shows that Steenkamp aka William Birlderberg had US$10 649 985 and K3 311 764 489.50 in his company accounts and in his accounts and his personal account possessed 3 380 371 750.50, his wife’s account had about K149 million and his lawyer Felix Tambulasi had two accounts with K2 003 799 915.40 and another with K148 651 083.87 his daughter Chene Engelbrecht has K149 214 660.31 at National Bank while associate Mark Deryck Cromhout had K198 750 549.00.
Others are Malawians namely Doris Phiri with two accounts with k3 256 852.78 and K19 130 926.29 Brian Magoya with a bank balance of K100 million, Patience Favour Maliwa with a balance of K43 627 669.49 , Peter Goodson Kawonga had K384 983 000.00 balance and a company called Kashmira Investment named as 7th defendant had K12 million.
Questions over immigration, courts and lawyers in Malawi
Fast cash seems to be catching up with Malawi courts as cases of money and pushing for its release seem to be taking prominence and questions are being asked, how far are our courts and lawyers willing to go to aid criminals in exchange for cash?
“In all funny cases, criminals look like find solace in our courts. The Immigration department is selling our passports to the highest bidders. Criminals obtain funny rulings from our courts. It looks like there is a competition to become the baddest. Many cases are getting questionable rulings. It’s time the judiciary saved its reputation which is tainted with each revealed case. For the first time, Malawians know which court will award who and they are talking loudly,” said a retired Judge on a social media group.