Police bust foreigners’ marriage certificate racket


Some foreigners are taking advantage of weak government systems to get marriage certificates in less than the 21 days as per requirement.

According to court documents, two Chinese males entered fraudulent marriages with two Malawian women who immediately made arrangements to fly to China.

The marriage certificates were processed in less than a week, contrary to the 21-day legal period.


The marriage procedure at a District Commissioner’s office demands one to file for a notice which runs for 21 days before a marriage certificate is issued.

The marriage documents in our possession show that the marriage certificates were issued on March 17 and 28, 2023.

The marriages were between Zhang Yan Qung and Grace Kathumba and Yan Hu Zhou and Sarai Chimutu.


The two couples have never lived together.

Malawi News understands that the two Chinese nationals came to Malawi as tourists with an aim of obtaining marriage certificates that facilitated the trafficking of the women to China.

Details show that some Chinese nationals conspired with Chen and a Malawi based Chinese interpreter Enoch Belo to execute the scheme.

The police arrested the four at Kamuzu International Airport after a tip about their travel.

The four defended their travel, arguing that they had identity cards and passports and went for medical tests and further obtained criminal clearance from the Malawi Police service and from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Malawi Police investigator Patrick Bottie based at Kamuzu International Airport told the court last week that airport police discovered that the two Malawian women’s travel documents were found with Chen, a thing that raised suspicion of possible human trafficking after a complaint from a mother to one of the women that her daughter, Grace, was going to China without her blessings.

“We arrested the four after discovering that Grace Kathumba was not allowed to travel by her mother and that the Chinese nationals promised to give K1 million to Kathumba’s parents to permit her to travel to China,” Bottie said.

He said the police were also suspicious after it was discovered that Kathumba got the certificate while at home.

Police further discovered that the Chinese interpreter, Bello, was the one who was facilitating the process as he negotiated with the parents on the marriage proposal.

The four have since been charged with trafficking in persons and they are being represented by Chipiliro Moyo.

An official at Lilongwe District Council said for one to get a marriage certificate with a foreigner, there is a need to express intention to marry and then gets registered at the District Commissioner’s office.

The proposed marriage is then put on a notice board while the couple waits for 21 days before they can get their marriage certificate.

But details show that the couples got the certificate within three days.

However, during court hearing on Wednesday, Bottie said the marriages were not authenticated as they were never registered at the District Commissioners’ office in Lilongwe.

Asked to comment on the issuance of the marriage certificates, District Commissioner for Lilongwe Lawford Palani said the marriage certificates indeed came from his office but said he was not aware how they were issued.

He said he would probe the matter.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed that it authenticated the marriage certificates before the four travelled out of the country.

The ministry’s spokesperson John Kabaghe said the ministry authenticates all kinds of documents including marriage certificates, police clearance reports, qualification certificates, birth certificates, and passport copies for those traveling outside the country.

“The ministry, therefore, stands by its procedure that the marriage certificate was indeed duly authenticated. This authentication process does not, however, extend to the way the document was obtained as that is outside the mandate of the ministry,” he said.

Facebook Notice for EU! You need to login to view and post FB Comments!
Show More

Related Articles

Back to top button

Adblock Detected

Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker