Karim Batatawala facing tax crime charges, ‘Cashgate’ at Immigration Department

Controversial Blantyre-based business mogul Abdul Karim Batatawala is being pursued by law enforcing agencies on tax crimes charges and  fraud in relation to government procurement deals.

Chief Immigration Officer Medi: Informed the Minister in a memo

Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) had previously obtained warrant of arrests from  Blantyre Chief Resident Magistrate, which indicate that between 2009 and 2014 three Batatawala brothers (Abdul, Aslam and Mahomed), “knowingly concealed and suppressed” information on sales amounting to over K30 billion with a view to “fraudulently evade value-added tax (VAT)” contrary to Section 49(1) of the VAT Act Chapter 42:02 of the Laws of Malawi.

Section 97 of the Taxation Act empowers any taxpayer aggrieved by MRA’s decision, determination or assessment of taxes to appeal to the authority’s commissioner general who may then amend or disallow it.

Sources at  Fiscal Police say Batatawala is being suspected  to have also corruptly interfered with the MRA attempts to administer tax laws.

Karim Batatawala is also being investigated to have corruptly enabled  extension  of contract with Malawi Immigration Department  No. IM/01/85 dated March 22 2010 through his Africa Commercial Agency to supply and delivery of Immigration uniform and other accessories for K4 796 129 880 (K4 billion).

The contract  stipulated that the delivery and  payments will be “gradual and spread over a period of several years in accordance with the uniform needs of the Department of Immigration.”

The contract was signed  by Elvis Thodi in the capacity of Chief Immigration Officer. Thodi is now director general of the State spy agency.

And in a memorandum to minister of homeland security, the incumbent Chief Immigration Officer  Masauko Medi which is dated  July 17 2018 said  Batatawalala through his African  Commodity Agency had a contract of K4 billion dated 22 March 2010 and another contract dated March 26 2012 worth K5 billion and that [in a Cashgate style]   “time went on without the supplier delivering the uniform as requested by the department.”

Medi informed the Minister that Immigration Department received communication from African Commodities  dated July 31 2017 requesting clearance of uniform and accessories imported  and  another letter from Reliance Trading Company to request MRA for duty free clearance of goods imported under contract.

Immigration Department wrote Attorney General for legal opinion on the matter “ for deliveries did not comply with the provision of the contract”, Medi informed the minister.

He said the Attorney General guided to reject the goods based on “lapse of time and the supplier went to the High Court to proceed with court case” against Attorney General.

Medi said the Attorney General started negotiations with the supplier in order for government not to lose out much but during one of the consultations meeting the supplier produced a worksheet outlining total value of goods already arrived in Malawi  at K46 billion while value of goods not arrived were at K7 billion.

He said the figures “alarmed the office of the Attorney General” and expanded the consultation group incorporating Auditor General, Secretary to Treasury and of Secretary of Homeland Security.

The letter informed that the stakeholders meeting agreed to inform President Peter Mutharika in writing on the matter through Minister of Justice  for his “knowledge and guidance as the amount claimed by the supplier is beyond the 2018/19 Budget provision for Immigration Department.”

Corruption has worsened in Malawi since 2014, according to the Corruption Perceptions Index published by Transparency International, the anti-graft advocacy group.

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concerned citizen
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concerned citizen

Contract for 2010 was worth four billion and that of 2012 was worth five billion. How does four billion plus five billion become 46 billion. The Indian community is reaping Malawi big time. M R A needs to seriously scrutinize all the Asian businesses in the country. There are many who are evading tax and duty payments.

benjones
Guest

Pure weakness and corruption in our system.

President Mkango Lion Manthakanjenjemereza
Guest
President Mkango Lion Manthakanjenjemereza

Why giving foreigner 50 bn Malawi kwacha contract to foreigner not your people, can a Malawian win a contacrt in Indian. Wake up foolish Malawi

benjones
Guest

this batatawala’s must be sent to jail for life with stiff panetly. the stories we read about his corruption is to much. Please authorities take this man and matter serious.

Gulukunyinda
Guest
Gulukunyinda

Indians and billons. No wonder Malawians cannot win any contracts. Kickbacks that is the trick. Munya, ma ruling party ayamba kuluza.

Good. Malemu
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Good. Malemu

How far will they go with this issue

Khima
Guest
Khima

Koma Batatawala anatitola ndithu….

Cashgate1
Guest

So the President, what did he do or say?

Mirella K
Guest
Mirella K

He pocketed his commission, za obvious

Timpudza Mwansambo
Guest
Timpudza Mwansambo

Koma m’bale wake wa maliseche ndi mbava

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