Police in Blantyre acting on behalf of Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) have arrested Faizal Latif, Director and owner of Mapeto David Whitehead and Sons on various tax law contraventions amounting to MK10.8 billion.
He went into hiding on Friday pleading with Tonse Alliance top hierarchy to “return the favour” rendered to them during the 2019 and 2020 general elections where his company offered credit lines for party cloth supplies.
Other officials arrested include: General Manager, Martin Mpata, Managing Director Mohamed Gaffar, Financial Controller Abdul Rashid Bakali, Procurement Manager Yaseen Muhamad.
“The Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) has arrested five officials from Mapeto (DWSM) Limited on allegations of tax evasion.
“The five officials were arrested on Friday 21st and 23rd May, 2021 for various offences committed while discharging their duties contrary to the provisions of the Customs and Excise Act, Taxation Act and Value Added Tax Act thereby defrauding the Malawi Government of revenue amounting to MK10.8 billion.
“The arrest follows a six weeks long examination of documents which were seized at the business premises of Mapeto (DWSM) Limited,” reads the statement from MRA signed by Head of Corporate Affairs Steven Kapoloma.
Mapeto, Malawi’s leading textile manufacturing company, the producers of Whitex Kutchena, is said to have imported finished rolls of clothes and declared them as raw materials in order to pay less and evade taxes.
Also, Mapeto is suspected to have allegedly imported containers of brand new tyres but declared them to the tax policing body, MRA were passed off as used ones.
In April this year, MRA invaded Mapeto seized their goods on suspicion that the goods were smuggled into the country.
The notice of seizure number 025435 and notice of embargo dated March 30, 2021 that Nyasa Times has in possession indicate that the goods included 246 bales of Java Wax fabric and 5,300 bales of mixed rolls of fabric.
The notice of seizure and embargo gave the reason for the seizure as smuggling and read:
“Please note that in terms of Section 149 of Customs and Excise Act, I have an embargo of the above goods.
“The goods may not be moved, sold, lent, hired, offered as security or in any other way dealt with until the embargo has been withdrawn in writing,” the notice, which MRA officers Eglyn Khuwi and Monica Kanjere signed, reads.
The notice said: “Failure to comply with the terms of the notice would render the owner of the goods liable to prosecution and forfeiture.”
A one Mr. Yaseen Muhammad, who signed as the owner of the goods on the notice at the times refused to talk to Nyasa Times and referred the matter to the company’s General Manager Martin Mpata, the man who has just been arrested by the police.
Mid last year, the owner of Mapeto David Whitehead and Sons Faisal Latif was summoned by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) for questioning over his role in the K300 million cheque made to Mapeto as payment for immediate past ousted Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) branded cloth.
The DPP is reportedly said to have pressurised the then Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (MERA) Chief Executive Officer, Collins Magalasi to pay for the former ruling party cloth meant for during the June 2020 fresh presidential elections campaign.
However, Mapeto is said not to have delivered the cloth but instead Faisal Latif gave the DPP K200 million in cash this is according to Collins Magalasi’s recorded statement gave to both the police and ACB.
Malawians are waiting with bated breaths to see whether or not the new Tonse Alliance government will continue to treat Faisal Latif, who appears to be a habitual offender in tax evasion, with kid gloves or will allow crime agencies like ACB, Financial Intelligence Agency (FIA) and the Police to do their jobs independently.
During the DPP regime, Faisal Latif and his Mapeto David Whitehead and Sons infiltrated into the system and were dealing with the top brass of the ruling politburo.
Faisal Latif is alleged to to use his other company, Honkong Polychem Limited Company as a conduit to evade tax and externalize foreign currency