The Lilongwe Chief Resident Magistrates Court has convicted a World Vision of Malawi employee Ignatius Kamwanje over a social media platform Facebook post which alleged that money was being stolen from National Bank of Malawi (NBM) plc client’s accounts.
Chief Resident Magistrate Patrick Chirwa convicted Kamwanje on Tuesday morning following his guilty plea to an offence of prohibition of spamming, as outlined in section 91 of the Electronic Transaction and Cyber Security Act of 2016.
Kamwanje’s bail has since been revoked and was immediately taken to Maula Prison where he will await his sentence on Thursday.
Police arrested Kamwanje in April this year after NBM plc had filed a complaint following his spate of damaging posts, among them, that NBM plc employees were involved in an ‘inside cartel’ to steal money from customers.
He alleged that four employees had been arrested in connection with the theft. However, when he was brought before the court, he pleaded guilty.
Police Prosecutor Patrick Chipote read particulars of the charge and the Magistrate asked Kamwanje if he had understood them, he nodded in agreement and maintained his guilty plea.
In his submissions, Chipote said their investigations did not establish the arrest of any NBM plc employee over the alleged theft and that no customer had officially complained about losing money in their accounts.
Chipote said Kamwanje’s posts damaged the bank’s image and reputation and asked the court to impose a stiff punishment to deter others from such misconduct.
“The convict defamed National Bank and damaged its image. Social media was established so that masses should be informed, educated and entertained in a moral manner and not abuse it like the way Kamwanje did,” he said.
But Kamwanje’s lawyer Pacharo Mwenelupembe prayed for leniency arguing that Kamwanje is the first offender.
She also told the court that Kamwanje will apologize on Facebook over the posts.
The convict first wrote the story on his Facebook wall on 1st March 2021 that his relative had his K8.7 million stolen at NBM plc with the help of the bank employees.
He wrote again on 27th March 2021 where he alleged that there were four cases at the courts and that others are in jail because of the issue.
“Those with National Bank accounts, check your balances regularly…ndalama zikutengedwa mma accounts. Yesterday about 4 cases at the court. Surprisingly it’s an inside cartel bcz others are in jail as I am talking. The relative whom I posted a story on my page and whose 2.8 million went missing with a balance of about 5.7 kulibe kalikonse..,” reads part of his post.
According to the Electronic Transaction and Cyber Security Act, Kamwanje faces a K2 million fine and five-year prison sentence.