The Malawi Inspectorate of Prisons has said 450 cellphones were confiscated from prisoners at Zomba Central Prison early this year following an operation.
Malawi Inspectorate of Prisons Chairperson Kennan Manda was speaking when the inspectorate presented the 2020-21 Report of the Inspection of Prisons and Police Cells.
Manda said the cellphones are smuggled by prisoners through various means, adding that there is a need for authorities to equip the prisons with scanners for easy detection of the gadgets.
The presence of cell phones has been a thorny issue in recent years, with many fraudsters using the gadgets to swindle Malawians using mobile money platforms.
Reserve Bank of Malawi indicated that mobile money service providers reported to them that up to 90 percent of fraud cases were emanating from the country’s prisons .
Just yesterday, social media was awash with reports that a prisoner had been found with two cellphones in his stomach.
Asked to comment on the development, Manda said the picture circulating on social media was not from Malawi but India.
Manda admitted that prisoners do smuggle cellphones into prison but that the best solution was to introduce scanners in prisons as physical searches have proven to be problematic.
Legal Affairs Committee of Parliament Chairperson Peter Dimba said the committee was concerned with the use of cellphones in prisons.
During presentation of the report, the Malawi Inspectorate of Prisons bemoaned congestion in the country’s prisons, saying it is leading to the spread of airborne diseases.
Among other things, Manda cited the consecutive sentences given by magistrates as contributing to the problem of congestion in cells.