Masangwi in K41m tax evasion scam

Ruling Democratic Progressive Party  regional governor for the South Noel Masangwi  is involved in a K41 million tax evasion at Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) but officials say he is being shielded by President Bingu wa Mutharika.

 Local media received an injunction stopping them from publishing the story on two occasions. Some lawyers expressed surprise that the same court granted conflicting injunctions.

 Sources from the DPP told Nyasa Timesthat the court at first quashed Masangwi’s application for an injunction to stop the media from publishing the story but the same court later granted Masangwi “super injunction”  stopping the media.

Masangwi: Bingu is shileding him

 “Even we in the DPP are surprised that the same court says no today and tomorrow says yes. What we know is that Mr. Masangwi asked the president to protect him. His tax evasion scandal is receiving the presidential immunity as of now,” a senior DPP official said.

 The official further said that the matter is likely to see no light os the day during the reign of Mutharika.

 “Mr Masangwi has been evading tax and has always used his political connection to get away with it. An example is this issue we are talking about,” the official said.

 In one of the documents Masangwi threatened to seek “His Excellency’s intervention” if officers at MRA proved difficult to process clearance of his vehicles.

 The DPP official who provided Nyasa Times with the documents said some MRA officers were helping Masangwi’s company Elvis Freight and Cargo Services to evade tax by forging Clean Report of Findings (CRF) and Motor Vehicle Examination Reports purportedly issued by Intertek Services (ITS).

 “Analysis of documents showed that fraud was done by forging two import documents namely Clean Report of Findings (CRF) and Motor Vehicle Examination Reports. On CRF what was being done was that an original CRF was photocopied, scanned and have the CRF No. Manifest No. and Invoice No. erased. Having done that they then added different details of vehicles of their choice, mostly expensive ones and reduce the values before submitting the entry to MRA,” reads the memo.

 A 2007 memo says on Motor Vehicle Examination Report, Intertel, Malawi number (MW-) issued by ITS was duplicated and new different vehicles inserted instead and values were just being framed.

 According to the documents, MRA has enough evidence to prove a case which amounts to K6 223 451.97 for 53 bills of entry for Elvis Freight and Cargo Services.

 MRA says K30 626 500.41 is revenue suspected to have been lost from the missing 241 bills of entry which the investigators failed to get from Elvis Freight.

 The documents also reveal an estimate fine of about K11 million that the commissioner general could give to Elvis Freight for the offence committed based on K36 849 952.33.

 

MRA officers implicated in the scandal, who are accused of aiding clearance of vehicles for Elvis Freight dubiously are Mrs. T. Goma, Mrs. Sekani, Mrs. Mbewe, Mr. Masamba, Mr. Jonathan and Mr. Turner.

 Jonathan facilitated revenue loss of K6 223 451.97, Sekani K1 852 241.54, Goma K1 110 721.91, Mbewe K1 447 724.95, Masamba K1 186 489.65, Turner K8 216 669.87.  

The investigators faced resistance from staff at Elvis Freight to source the missing 241 entries. The situation at the company was disturbing and scaring and as a solution the team a search warrant through the Legal division.

 “However, while in the process of signing for the documents/files found as a final stage of the exercise, an order was received through a phone call from our office to immediately stop the search and leave everything we found there and come back to the office,” reads one memo.

 “In the course of our investigations, we learnt that one officer, Mrs. Kachere, who is an assessment officer, rejected outright these entries on the basis that no original CRF was attached. As a result of this, the Director of Elvis Freight, Mr. Noel Masangwi stormed the verification hall, where all verification officers are accommodated and shouted all sorts of insults at Mrs. Kachere for rejecting Elvis entries,” explain the investigators who add that the woman was saved by her supervisor a Mr. Chatambalala who took Masangwi out of the office.

 “What Mrs. Kachere did should be commended as she displayed professionalism that was supposed to be emulated by all officers. To imagine that five officers processed such entries when they knew very well that their fellow officer rejected the same is not only worrisome but also scaring,” MRA investigators commended Kachere.

 April 26 2010 document says Masangwi stopped officers from from MRA FROM withholding his goods or those related with him and asked for their unconditional release because he had already cleared the issue with the Commissioner General.

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