The Fountain of Victory International Church and Ministries has said its founder, Apostle Joseph Ziba who was arrested for non-payment of duty on his motor vehicle is an innocent victim of a well-calculated and well-organized criminal activities within the system of second hand car trading.
Apostle Ziba was arrested on Wednesday afternoon over non-payment of duty on his vehicle, a Ranger Rover registration number TO 8368 and was granted bail Thursday after spending a night at Blantyre Police Station.
“The apostle has been a law abiding citizen, and never broken any law in Malawi before and has always met his legal and civil obligations. As a church we respect the law and authorities and we leave to MRA and the courts to handle the matter,” said Wanangwa Nthara Public Relations Director for Fountain of Victory in a statement released Thursday evening.
Nthara said the motor vehicle was previously owned by a Mr.Tayub Aziz and had at the time of the acquisition, been registered and used by the said owner for close to a year here in Malawi.
“The information available to the Man of God at the time was that this vehicle was properly registered and that the all necessary clearance documents including Customs clearance certificate for motor vehicle, Interpol clearance certificate and the motor vehicle Registration were presented and that there were no encumbrances attached to the vehicle whatsoever.”
“We believe that once a seller has produced the above mentioned documents the assumption is that all the necessary obligations have been properly met,” said Nthara.
“We therefore, categorically put it on record that The Apostle is an innocent victim of well-calculated and well-organized criminal activities within the system of second hand car trading,” added Nthara.
But in a statement issued by public tax authority, said they arrested Ziba and Aziz on allegations of committing varuous tax offences contrary to provisions of the Customs and Excise Act and Value Added Tax (VAT)B Act.
“MRA investigations revealed that Ziba failed to comply with customs laws by being found in possession of goods subject to customs control; namely, a motor vehicle 2014 Range Rover Sport registration TO 8368, thereby defrauding the Government of Malawi of its legitimate revenue,” reads the statement signed by MRA head of corporate affairs Steven Kapoloma.
The statement said the vehicle in question did not appear in MRA’s Automated System for Customs Data (Asycuda) system and that the customs clearance documents presented to the Directorate of Road Traffic and Safety Services to register the vehicle were not for the aforesaid motor vehicle.
Asycuda is a computerised system designed by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad) to administer a country’s customs.
Further reads the MRA statement: “Aziz also registered a Toyota Fortuner without a proper customs clearance certificate, thereby evading payment of customs duty and defrauding the Government of Malawi of its legitimate revenue.”
Ziba applied for bail through lawyer Wanangwa Hara which was granted by Blantyre senor resident magistrate Viva Nyimba upon ordering the preacher to pay K200 000 cash bail bond.
The court also ordered the man of God to present two sureties, surrender his travel documents to police and report to Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) head office fortnightly on Mondays.
Following his bail, Apostle Ziba is expected to fly to Lilongwe Friday morning where he is expected to hold a series of preaching and teaching events until the weekend.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :