The Malawi Bureau of Standards (MBS) is being investigated after Leopard Matches Limited accused the standardization institution of corruption in the awarding of certification for Paka Matches which are being imported from Kenya.
Leopard Matches also accuse the importers of forging import licenses and there are reports that the importers, Muhammed Assin Hassam of Bazooka Trading and Jussab Nurmahomed of Jussab Nurmahomed Wholesalers and some officials from the MBS risk arrest after both the Fiscal Police and the Anti-Corruption Bureau instituted investigations.
Following revelations that MBS has fraudulently awarded certification to Jussab Nurmahomed Wholesalers and Bazooka Trading to import Paka Matches, Leopard Matches sought and were granted a court order to stop the importation as well as to seize the goods that have been imported.
Following the court order, Leopard Match, in the company of over 30 armed Policemen on Monday stormed Limbe and raided about 10 shops where they confiscated boxes of Paka Matches.
A similar exercise was conducted in Lilongwe on Tuesday.
The seizure follows an injunction granted to Leopard Matches by the High Court prohibiting Bazooka Wholesalers and Jussab Nurmahomed Wholesalers from importing and distributing the product on the market.
Leopard Match also raided MBS head office in Blantyre where they seized all documents relating to the certification of Paka Matches.
In their affidavit to the court, Leopard Matches claims MBS contravened their own MBS Act in granting permission to the two entities to import Paka Matches.
Leopard Match claims MBS granted the two wholesalers import approvals without testing mandatory parameters under Mandatory Standards MS:251:2002 and MS:252:2002 namely, crushing strength and damp proofness in contravention and ultra vires the MBS Act, regulations and standards which is illegal, null and void, irrational and unreasonable.
The company is also challenging the decision by MBS to given an import annual waiver to the importers of Paka Matches without them qualifying for a mandatory maximum four imports in line with the law and based on illegal imports each done without mandatory testing.
In an interview, Leopard Match Limited lawyer Khuleza Phokoso told NyasaTimes that Paka Matches is a product that should not be on the market because it did not pass the standardization tests.
“Apart from putting an injunction stopping the distribution and selling, the court has also ordered that there shouldn’t be any selling on retail level as well as any importation. So, as we speak, even Malawi Revenue Authority has been ordered not to allow any imports of Paka Matches into the country,” he said.
He added that following the court order, the product is as good as banned and should not be sold anywhere in the country.
According to Phokoso, the case is between Leopard Matches and MBS and also against the two importers.
Paka Matches are produced by a Kenyan company called Lion Match.
Phokoso claimed that the two importers have so far imported 2,000 metric tonnes of the productFollow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :