MRA doubles Mapeto tax evasion bill to K32 billion

Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) has doubled the amount in the tax evasion case involving Mapeto David Whitehead and Sons (DWS) from the K16.4 billion to a whooping K32 billion.

The tax invasion claim will rise from the already adjusted figure amounting to K16.4 billion to K32 billion when all the penalties and interests are included.

Anthony Chungu, One of the lawyers representing MRA said Thursday after attending court proceedings before the Chief Resident Magistrate, Jean Kayira in Blantyre Court that the amended charge sheet has an upward revision of the principle amount from the initial K10.8 billion to about K16.5 billion, did not include penalties and interests.

Mutharika (2R) being briefed on the new equipment by Latif (2L) as Minister of Trade and Industry Joseph Mwanamvekha (far left) and First Lady Gertrude Mutharika look on

Said Chungu: “With interest and penalties, the figures are coming to around K32 billion.”

“Total figures have adjusted from about K10 billion to about K16.4 billion, without penalties and interest as required by the various charging revenue laws.”

Chungu further told the court that the amendment to the charge sheet, which has also seen the inclusion of three more Mapeto DWS directors, bringing the number of accused persons to 11, follows the discovery of the full list of the company’s directors and an analysis of the textile company’s documents.

According to Chungu, the three new accused persons, namely Zarina Latif, Kamplesh Raichand and Dilip Pancherywala have not been summoned for questioning and are expected to be questioned on July 7.

Out of the three new accused persons, only Latif appeared in court as the other two were reported to be outside the country.

Kayira then read all the amended counts levelled against Latif.

Jai Banda, lawyer representing Mapeto DWS executives, responding to the inclusion of the three, told the court that Raichand, the third accused and Pancherywala, who is the fourth accused, are no longer part of the company.

Banda said: “The other two directors who are mentioned are outside the jurisdiction. They left the jurisdiction some years ago and they are no longer part of the company.”

However, in his response, Chungu argued that at the time the alleged offences were committed, the two were contributing to the company; hence, their inclusion.

After hearing arguments from both the State and defence, Kayira directed that the State should file the disclosures and serve the defence on July 9 and that the defence should file its arguments on July 23 before the State files its response on the defence’s arguments on August 6 2021.

Kayira said the court will make its ruling on the amended charge sheet on August 31, while fresh plea taking on the amended charge sheet will be on September 10, before the five-day hearing, which will run from September 20 to September 25, 2021.

Police in Blantyre acting on behalf of Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) in May arrested Faizal Latif, Director and owner of Mapeto David Whitehead and Sons on various tax law contraventions amounting to MK10.8 billion.

Police first pounced on the company’s general manager, Martin Mpata who was nabbed on a Friday.

Faisal Latif, the company’s owner who is politically connected went into hiding as tried to plead with the Tonse Alliance top hierarchy to “return the favour” rendered to them during the 2019 and 2020 general and subsequent presidential elections, where his company offered credit lines for party cloth supplies.

Other officials arrested include: General Manager, Martin Mpata, Latif’s son, Managing Director Mohamed Gaffar, Financial Controller Abdul Rashid Bakali, Procurement Manager Yaseen Muhamad.

Malawi has lost over a trillion Kwacha in tax invasion.

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