Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) boss Ralph Kamoto has suspended commissioner for exports Shadrec Namalomba for facilitating to clear nine trucks of round wood from Chikangawa meant for export.
The trucks that Namalomba cleared reportedly belong to ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmaker Noel Masangwi.
According to an MRA staff circular number 28 dated February 20 issued by Kamoto, which Nyasa Times has a copy, Namalomba has been suspended following a preliminary report alleging “gross misconduct” from his office.
Deputy Commissioner of custom Lexon Kachala has been put an acting commissioner of exports.
Press reports exposed a shocking rush by ‘timber sharks’ to deplete round wood and government has since acted by revoking all export licences for the dealers.
Ministry of Trade and Industry principal secretary Cliff Chinua warned that anyone found exporting raw hard round wood timber “will be liable to prosecution in accordance with the provision of the relevant laws of Malawi.”
The new Parliamentary Committee on Natural Resources and the Environment said a comprehensive investigation done by its 20 members had shown that local and international syndicates, corruption and bribery were at the heart of the illegal exportation of the timber, including the local tsanya variety.
According to the committee, some Cabinet ministers, members of Parliament (MPs) as well as some civil servants who have allegedly manoeuvred to loot Malawi, by illegally exporting the nation’s prized and protected round wood through local and international syndicates, will soon be named and shamed in an investigative report to be tabled in Parliament.
Most of Malawi’s forest reserves, including Dzalanyama in Lilongwe and Viphya (Chikangawa) in Mzimba, have virtually been depleted by dealers in timber and firewood over the years.