A container—with t-shirts, caps and golf shirts— that some Malawi Congress Party (MCP) die-hards protested for its release at Malawi Revenue Authority’s (MRA) Kanengo warehouse in the capital Lilongwe has reportedly been “seized” after a plot by the former main opposition “to evade duty” was foiled, Nyasa Times understands.
On Friday, spirited MCP supporters took to the gates of MRA demanding the release of the container a development which forced the revenue collecting body to call for police support to disperse them.
During the fracas, police deployed teargas resulting in running battles which injured many including a woman, Kate Hussein, who is presently battling for her life at Kamuzu Central Hospital.
According to an impeccable source privy to Nyasa Times, MCP imported the t-shirts, caps and golf shirts through the party’s sympathizer, Sam Mwale, and the container was referred for physical examination at Kanengo on Thursday, May 1.
“MCP did not declare all the caps and under declared quantities which is like smuggling. They also undervalued all the goods that they declared and misclassified some to evade duty.
“MRA seized the goods in order to do paper work for the serious offense committed by MCP and a seizure notice was immediately issued,” said our source.
But Nyasa Times understands that Mwale—in whose name the goods were imported—refused to receive the seizure notice and, instead, called five MCP youths who refused to leave the office until the goods were released as MRA officers were detained until after 8:30pm.
“The police was called in and they left on understanding that they bring a restoration letter explaining why they committed the offense because without this letter the goods would remain under seizure and thereafter detained and auctioned,” said our source.
But, according to our source, instead of bringing the letter MCP decided to bring a crowd of supporters to protest at MRA offices to force them to release the goods.
“They were not allowed to come on MRA premises and instead resorted to singing insult songs outside our gate. The police had to be called in again to restore peace because this is an industrial site and other importers were being delayed. And, because they were stubborn, teargas had to be used again,” explained our source.
The source added that the MCP has finally lodged in the restoration letter having noticed that MRA officers “could not succumb to their savagery threats but stick to the law.”
Said our source: “A case file has been opened, extra duty determined plus fine. This has to go to the headquarters for approval and final determination of the case. The fine for such an offense is 10 times the duty plus 3 years imprisonment with hard labour and the Commissioner General uses his discretion using evidence, intention and behavior of the taxpayer.”
When contacted for comment, MCP spokesperson Reverend Maurice Munthali, referred this reporter to the party’s secretary general, Eisenhower Mkaka, saying he was away in the village.
“I am in the constituency…but I have heard of the issue. Can you reach out to the secretary general [Mkaka] who might have substance to say on the matter please,” said Munthali.
Mkaka said Saturday that the party will seek court relief on the matter.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :