The Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) and the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) have warned unscrupulous businesses against abusing the Industrial Rebate, Export Processing Zones (EPZ) and Duty Free Schemes for importation of qualifying items by fraudulently working with suppliers abroad to inflate importation costs.
The two bodies also claimed that they have identified some people who have been remitting funds abroad using fake customs documents from their shell business bank accounts opened using fake identity documents.
“There are also some traders who export products from Malawi and under-declare the official receipts expected from such exports so that the buyers remit the difference in their offshore accounts,” said Raphael Kamoto, MRA Commissioner General.
Kamoto said they are jointly working with ACB to bring to book “these unpatriotic’ individuals using existing legal instruments available under the law.
“We urge all banks to immediately enhance Know Your Customer (KYC) process and diligently scrutinise documents before effecting any remittances, if in doubt, please verify with MRA’s Tax Investigations Division,” stated Kamoto.
On his part ACB Director General, Lucas Kondowe urged those who have been abusing the processes to come forward within the next 14 days and see how they will bring back to the country all the funds that have been externalized through these schemes, and repay the taxes due.
“Failure to do so will result in charges for tax evasion for the taxes not remitted including interest and penalties and charges for illegal externalization of funds for the element of funds illegally remitted through these schemes,” said Kondowe.
Through these illegal acts, the country is denied of tax revenues to fund the national and leads to inaccurate economic data resulting in potentially flawed economic decisions, among others.
“MRA further wishes to remind all taxpayers and the business community that is their obligation and responsibility to come to MRA offices and settle their tax liabilities by themselves,” added Kamoto.