Bail for Mapeto DWS “Kings” should be rescinded

Jackson Msiska, a Malawian who likes to comment on social and political matters, has said the granting of bail to five Mapeto David Whitehead and Sons (DWS) officials last week is bedevilling and “an insult to Malawians,” and has, therefore, called on government to make sure their bail “is rescinded with immediate effect.”

Faizal Latif of Mapeto with President Mutharika

Last week the five—director Faizal Gaffar Latif, managing director Muhammed Gaffar, financial controller Abdul Rashid Bakali, procurement manager Yaseen Muhammed and general manager Martin Mpata—were arrested for an alleged K10.8 billion tax evasion.

‘Fight bail’

In an interview with Nyasa Times on Monday, Msiska said leaving the five scot-free on the pretext of bail was a challenge to Malawians that they can do whatever as long as they have the money.

“An assembly of lawyers from government and the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) should fight so that the bail is rescinded because their moving about town is as if they never committed any crime at all. It is even sadder that while these are out of custody, some Malawians are rotting in our congested cells for no crimes at all,” said Msiska.

He said forfeiting the bail would deter “others who think they have all the money to mess up with the law” from doing the same.

“It is a lot of taxpayers’ money we are talking about here. Actually, enough money to build a modern district referral hospital,” he said.

According to Nyasa Times’ findings, a hospital can indeed be constructed with K10.8 billion as the new Nkhata Bay District hospital was built with resources amounting to about K14 billion [using the present exchange rate to the US dollar].

‘Tax evasion’

Latif and colleagues were formally charged with 15 counts by chief resident magistrate for the southern region, Jean Kayira, all bordering on tax evasion.

Among the charges were interfering with goods under customs control, smuggling goods, uttering false documents and conspiracy to commit a customs offence.

“Faizal Gaffar Latif and Mohamed Gaffar, being director and managing director of Mapeto [DWSM] Limited respectively, on a day and place unknown between 2016 and 2021, conspired together with Yaseen Muhammad being the procurement manager, Martin Mpata being the general manager; Devchad Purohit being the assistant accountant; Abdul Rashid Bakali, being the financial controller, all of Mapeto [DWSM] Limited as well as with Tsepiso Kaunda and George Mwaluka , both being MRA customs officers, to evade payment of customs duties by importing ready-made and ready-for-consumption fabrics and twine, disguised as duty-free raw materials under industrial rebate, thereby defrauding the Malawi Government of revenue amounting to K1 980 685 404.87,” Kayira had said while reading from the charge sheet.

She had then adjourned the case to June 3 2021.

‘Bail’

Blantyre senior resident magistrate, Akya Mwanyongo, granted bail to the five ordering the accused persons to each pay bail bonds of K10 million cash and K50 million non-cash sureties.

Mwanyongo further ordered them to surrender their travel documents and report to Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) commissioner general fortnightly on Mondays.

But one of the lawyers representing the five, Frank Mbeta, asked the court to reduce the K10 million cash bail bond to K2 million, arguing the amount was on the higher side.

After hearing arguments from the two sides, Mwanyongo granted the defence’s request and reduced the cash bond to K2 million.

Among the charges were interfering with goods under customs control, smuggling goods, uttering false documents and conspiracy to commit a customs offence.

‘DPP interested’

Lawyer representing MRA, Beatrice Mwangwela, told the court that the sixth accused person, Purohit, who is Mapeto DWSM Limited assistant accountant, is at large while Kaunda and Mwaluka were released on police bail after being questioned.

She also told the court that Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Steve Kayuni, and two Financial Intelligence Authority lawyers will join the State in the case.

Mwangwela said, after the court session, that the DPP has shown interest in the case due to its magnitude.

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Chayamba
5 months ago

Very surprising indeed in the contest that before they were granted bail another container had arrived and it’s papers were dirty as the first ones which they were arrested for meaning the bail could have waited for the new findings to be concluded. What Malawi and know is to punish each other. Which case is more serious between the Mapeto saga and the Sumbureta? Our Malawian stayed for a month in custody before being bailed with that trivial case. Wake up mother Malawi

Jackass Jackson
Jackass Jackson
5 months ago

Stop talking like you are the law. Every person has right to bail. First lock up all those thieves who stole trillions of kwachas under cash gate. All those thugs and thieves are all Malawians and all are scot-free. So shut your useless gob. Social commentator my foot. You just an Empty head stupid idiot.

Mafuta noni noni
Mafuta noni noni
5 months ago

These culprits are asking for a reduced bail to 2million and they have a case of MK10.8 billion. Palibe zobwenza ndalama apa.

Bibo
Bibo
5 months ago

The world talked about Idi Amin of Uganda as an evil dictator, but I side with him when it comes to the Indian businessmen issue. He punished them for their evil deeds: It was evil vs evil. Indian businessmen wherever they are especially in Africa , inflict a lot of economic pain on the local people and country. They are crooked, heartless, and do business corruptly and even defrauding government. As is the case with Malawi, they are good at who to approach in government in order to prevail with fraudulent activities- this explains why their tentacles of influence are… Read more »

Chisale
Chisale
5 months ago

I am not a law expert but why shouldn’t they be given bail? The magistrate was just following the legal procedures and they can not be emotional like the people on social media.

bentby
5 months ago

our justice system is made to work againest us [poor malawians] and work in favor of foreign criminal rich bandits. true example; My uncle spent 18 days in police cell and denied bail for because he beat a guy who failed to pay back money he loaned him. the guy didn’t die, he just suffered some bruises, but my uncle spent damn 18 days in police cell until court hearing where he was fined mk100,000.But here we are talking of people who have stolen billions of kwachas just spending one night in police cell. what an insult to common malawians.

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