“Arrests follows a six week long examinations of documents.”
Elusive and highly politically-connected Blantyre based business magnet, owner of Mapeto David Whitehead, Faisal Gaffar Latif has been arrested alongside his son, Muhammad, who is the company’s managing director and three other senior officials for defrauding the Malawi Government to the tune of K10.8 billion through tax evasion.
The five, who were arrested by the country’s tax policing body, Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) are being held at Blantyre Police Station waiting to be taken to the court.
Apart from Faisal Latif and his son Muhammad, the tax collector, MRA also busted Mapeto’s General Manager, Martin Chapati Mpata, financial controller, Abdul Rashid Bakali and the company’s procurement manager, Yaseen Muhammad.
MRA Head of Corporate Affairs, Steve Kapoloma in a statement announcing the arrests, said:
“The five were arrested on Friday and Sunday respectively for various offences committed while discharging their duties contrary to the provisions of the Customs and Excise Act, Taxation Act, and Value added Tax Act thereby defrauding the Malawi Government of revenue amounting to K10.8 billion.”
Kapoloma said the arrests follows a six week long examinations of documents, which were siezed at the business premises of Mapeto David Whitehead Limited in Blantyre.
Faisal Latif, who has been highly connected to the powers that be is a powerful and untouchable for the past three decades acquired David Whitehead Limited in 2003 amid strong protests from the public through the infamous privatisation programme.
Faisal Latif was close ally to the ousted former ruling party, DPP and used to fund them through both cash and party cloth material for political campaign.
Mapeto, Malawi’s leading textile manufacturing company, the producers of Whitex Kutchena, is said to have imported finished rolls of clothes and declared them as raw materials in order to pay less and evade taxes.
Also, Mapeto is suspected to have allegedly imported containers of brand new tyres but declared them to the tax policing body, MRA were passed off as used ones.
Last month, MRA invaded Mapeto seized their goods on suspicion that the goods were smuggled into the country.
The notice of seizure number 025435 and notice of embargo dated March 30, 2021 that Nyasa Times has in possession indicate that the goods seized included 246 bales of Java Wax fabric and 5,300 bales of mixed rolls of fabric.
The notice of seizure and embargo gave the reason for the seizure as smuggling and read:
“Please note that in terms of Section 149 of Customs and Excise Act, I have an embargo of the above goods.
“The goods may not be moved, sold, lent, hired, offered as security or in any other way dealt with until the embargo has been withdrawn in writing,” the notice, which MRA officers Eglyn Khuwi and Monica Kanjere signed, reads.
The notice said: “Failure to comply with the terms of the notice would render the owner of the goods liable to prosecution and forfeiture.”
Mid last year, the owner of Mapeto David Whitehead and Sons Faisal Latif was summoned by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) for questioning over his role in the K300 million cheque made to Mapeto as payment for immediate past ousted Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) branded cloth.
The DPP is reportedly said to have pressurised the then Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (MERA) Chief Executive Officer, Collins Magalasi to pay for the former ruling party cloth meant for during the June 2020 fresh presidential elections campaign.
However, Mapeto is said not to have delivered the cloth but instead Faisal Latif gave the DPP K200 million in cash this is according to Collins Magalasi’s recorded statement gave to both the police and ACB.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :