Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) has been accused of being used by politicians in the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to fight their competitors by abusing the tax collecting body with political dog fights.
The accusations were made on Monday when MRA officials led by its Commissioner General Thom Malata appeared before Budget and Finance Committee of Malawi Parliament as well as Parliament Public Accounts Committee in Lilongwe.
The MRA boss and his officials were told to stop being used by DPP politicians to harass their political foes, saying their focus should be to ensure they don’t miss monthly revenue collection targets.
Member of Parliament t for Lilongwe South Peter Dimba, who is also a member of the Parliamentary finance Committee accused MRA that it conducted a search at the business premises of Armstrong Lawyers and Company, Armstrong Oils and Car Accessories and Armstrong Agro Trading, in Lilongwe on suspicion of tax evasion offences because the company belongs to a fierce critic of President Peter Mutharika, Peter Chakwantha, a lawmaker for opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP).
MRA said they had a tip alleging that Chakwantha’s law firm has not been remitting correct amount of taxes in form of Value Added Tax (VAT) and Income Tax.
The tax collecting body said their search resulted in the seizure of some business documents from the company which are being analysed to verify the allegations made against the aforesaid companies.
“Why do you allow to be used by politicians to embarrass enemies of the State?” MP Dimba queried the MRA officials.
He added that MRA conduct media trial on their victims like Chakwantha, who he said was “paraded” on state broadcaster MBC and “prosecuted”.
But Malata denied that the tax collecting body is being used.