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Lawyer Taulo says women found with 338 ATM cards are ‘chipereganyo’ members

The five women who were arrested at Kamuzu International Airport (KIA) in Lilongwe for being found with 338 ATM cards have claimed that they are members of ‘chipereganyo’ [village savings and loan association – VSLA] and that the cards belong to other members who sent them to buy goods in Dubai on their behalf.

Lawyer Oscar Taulo, who is representing some of the accused women, said the women have been saving and lending money amongst themselves in their effort to increase access and control over resources and use collective power to overcome social and financial barriers.

Fiscal Police at KIA arrested the five women on their landing from Dubai on suspicion that they were using the cards to externalize forex and launder money.

National Police publicist Peter Kalaya identified the arrests as Sellina Mkandawire 39, Fatima Dziko 35, Diness Mphande 66, Hanifa Osman, 33, and Angella Mphande, 36.

Lawyer Oscar Taulo

Kalaya said the five were arrested as they landed from the United Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

They carried ATM cards are from different banks, which law enforcers suspected that they were used to externalize money.

They were granted bail immediately afterwards, a development that raised questions, with others speculating that they were connected to high profile politicians.

But Taulo described the women as ‘genuine businesswomen who have worked so hard to earn what they now have’.

“So, it’s not true that they are connected to any politician let alone a money laundering syndicate. These are innocent and genuine businesswomen and I, as their legal counsel, am determined to prove their innocence when the matter comes for trial,” he said.

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