The Domasi Magistrate Court in Zomba has sentenced 34-year-old Charles Kadzombe to two-and-half years imprisonment with hard labour for masquerading as National Economic Empowerment Fund Limited (NEEF) staff and soliciting money to help people get loans.
It is believed that the conman who hails from Balaka District had been parading himself as a NEEF Loan officer recruiting clients to receive loans from the Fund and duping unsuspecting masses in the process in Machinga, Balaka, Ntcheu, and some districts in the Eastern region.
It wasn’t until NEEF had successfully engaged stakeholders in Zomba that Kadzombe’s underdealings were exposed. Councilor for Zomba Malosa ward Philip Mapira tipped the Fund that the loan officer that was introduced at the stakeholders meeting in Zomba as responsible for his ward was not the one that is recruiting clients for the loan in the area.
The Government-owed Microfinance Institution has been undertaking stakeholders’ engagement meetings in all districts across the country to create a common understanding of NEEF’s operations and sensitise Chiefs, Members of Parliament, Councilors, Village Development Committees (VDCs), Area Development Committees (ADCs), and the District Secretariat staff on the loan application process and their roles.
The Fund launched a manhunt for the conman in conjunction with Domasi Police Station and arrested Kadzombe while soliciting money from undercover agents on the pretext that he will process their loan applications.
It also transpired during the encounter that the impostor cloned NEEF staff identity card for himself to legitimize his deceitful pretenses in the eyes of the unsuspecting masses and introduced himself as a loan officer for Machinga Likwenu Constituency.
This is where plain-clothed police officers invaded the scene, arrested Kadzombe, and brought him before Domasi Magistrate Court on 19th and 20th July 2022. It also emerged that he had been duping clients from his home district of Balaka by using the NEEF brand.
Magistrate Elick Nchodza convicted him on two counts: Forgery, and Impersonating a public servant, and sentenced him on 5th August 2022 to 30 months imprisonment with hard labour.
Meanwhile, Kadzombe has been committed to Domasi Prison where he will serve his jail term.
In light of this development, NEEF’s Chief Executive Officer Humphrey Mdyetseni deplores all forms of fraud and commits that the Fund will take all measures to ensure the loan application process is corrupt-free so that poor and under-served Malawians have access to the loans.
“NEEF is therefore warning the general public against such people and reminding the public that the Fund does not operate through any agents, middlemen, or third parties. Client recruitment is done by NEEF’s loan officers through the VDCs and ADCs.
“The National Economic Empowerment Fund Limited is a protected name and as such, it is an offence for anyone to be using it without the express consent of the Management. Worse still, extorting money from unsuspecting members of the public under the pretext of loans is a typical case of robbery that is punishable by law,” says Mdyetseni.
The public is, therefore, being advised to stay away from such unscrupulous people and if they come across any self-proclaimed loan officers soliciting money to help people get the loans, such unscrupulous people should be reported to the police, local leaders, or the nearest NEEF office. You can also call NEEF’s Headquarters on 09999 41 333/ 09999 38 333 or email firstname.lastname@example.org/ email@example.com