The country’s tax collector, the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) has fined the son of controversial businessman, Bishop Simama MK 10 million for smuggling 30,000 litres of petrol into Malawi from Tanzania.
While MRA’s public relations office headed by Wilma Chalulu dodged the matter, Nyasa Times was able to confirm the development with inside sources and Simama himself.
“Thank you for your inquiry. We however cannot give you further details of any offenses as that would be breach of confidentiality. However, it must be noted that the Commissioner General has powers under the law to impose penalties on any offences that may have been committed,” Chalulu told Nyasa Times in response to the questionaire.
Peza Simama, the Bishop’s son admitted to Nyasa Times in exclusive interviews that MRA busted him and that he paid the fines.
He declined to reveal neither how much fine he paid nor the quantity of fuel in question.
“This has nothing to do with my father. My father did not pay the fines. Go to MRA and find out if my father’s name appears in any document regarding this case,” Peza challenged.
MRA’s Flexible Anti Smuggling Team (FAST) Officers working on a tip off apprehended Peza Simama’s truck in Karonga with 15,000 litres of fuel.
Peza did not have any documentation to prove that the fuel was legitimate.
Under MRA’s schedule for penalties for offences against customs and exercise laws, smugglers are charged a minimum of 30 percent of duty prejudiced.
Smuggling here includes direct smuggling using uncharted routes or facilitated through the border and indirect (technical) smuggling which includes under declaration of quantities and misdescription of goods, according to the schedule.
In Karonga MRA slapped Peza with a MK2 million fine.
However, MRA FAST again intercepted Peza’s truck which was enroute to deliver the fuel to Lilongwe at Dunduzu roadblock about 10 Kilometres from Mzuzu and discovered that the truck now had 30,000 litres.
They impounded it again and penalised Peza with a MK 8 million fine bringing the total to MK10 million.
Smuggling of goods is contrary to section 134 (a) of Customs and Excise Act which stipulates that any person who imports, exports, carries coastwise or in transit, loads, unloads, removes, possess or conveys goods contrary to the provisions of the customs laws shall be guilty of an offence.
The offence is punishable under Section 142 (1) (a) of the same Act, that attracts a maximum penalty of ten times the amount of the duty and shall be liable to imprisonment for three years.
Peza said he buys the fuel from Tanzania because it is cheap at less than MK500 per litre when shillings are converted into Malawi Kwacha.
“Am not alone in this business (smuggling) so many people are doing it,” he said.
This is not the first time the Simama’s have found themselves on the other side of law and/regulations.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :