The Malawi Revenue Authority [MRA) says as an agency of the Malawi Government, it is mandated to enforce tax law without discrimination on basis of colour, religion, business type etc.
The MRA says with regards to the Mapeto Wholesalers case, the Authority cannot discuss this issue with CDEDI in respect of confidentiality of tax issues Section 6 of the Taxation Act, which mandates MRA not to disclose tax payer’s affairs with third parties.
This is contained in a letter signed by its Commissioner General, John Bizwick dated 28th October, 2020 to CDEDI as response to its letter of 12th October, 2020 raising concerns of the MRA’s preferential treatment in the Tax Law enforcement and application between the indigenous Malawians and Malawians of Asian origin.
In the letter, the MRA says with regards to the late Katsache case, the Authority said the importer misclassified and under declared his goods contrary to the Customs and Exercise Act, the importer accepted the offence and was making arrangements to pay the duty and penalty, sadly, that the Authority only received reports that he passed on while staying at one of the lodges in Mzuzu days after acknowledging the offence.
…..’’The two cases are absolutely different and the Authority handled the two cases in accordance with the law and without any form of discrimination,’’…..reads part of MRA’ letter to CDEDI.
CDEDI in its letter of 12th October, 2020, demanded progress being made on Faisal Latif of Mapeto Wholesalers tax evasion, saying now that Covid -19 travel restrictions are slowly lifted, all Malawians are waiting with baited breath to hear from MRA on how the Mapeto Wholesalers saga will be concluded to finalize investigations.
The organization claims that the Mapeto wholesalers incident happened before Mr. John Bizwick assumed office as Commissioner General, CDEDI do not want to conclude that MRA’s cold feet on the incident is a signal that his office is sweeping the scam under the carpet. But, in one of the daily papers of 3rd August, 2020, with the title ‘’ MRA drags feet on duty probe’’, it was reported that the MRA is yet to make progress one year after obtaining a court search warrant to investigate the alleged undervaluing imports from China purportedly to evade tax, attributing the delay to Covid -19 pandemic while Mapeto Wholesalers claimed to have no case with the MRA .
By Vincent Gunde