Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) has arrested four Mapeto David Whitehead and Sons executives and two clearing agents for customs-related offences.
In an interview on Wednesday, MRA head of corporate affairs Steve Kapoloma said the four Mapeto executives were arrested on Tuesday evening in Blantyre while the two clearing agents were arrested on Wednesday.
The Mapeto executives are Faizal Gaffar Latif, Zarina Latif, Mohamed Gaffar and Mohamed Yaseen while Mcknight Banda and Chimwemwe Tembo are manager and officer at Fortune Limited Clearing Agency of Balaka.
Kapoloma said the suspects are alleged to have connived to defraud government of K252.6 million in tax revenue.
He said: “The six are [suspected] to have falsified documents presented to customs for declaration and clearance of fabrics around April 2021 with intent to defraud government of revenue.”
The MRA spokesperson said the accused persons will be charged with conspiracy to commit customs offences, interfering with goods under customs control and uttering a false document.
Kapoloma said this case is not related to the K16.5 billion tax evasion case involving the four Mapeto executives, which is currently in court.
“This is a completely different case; it’s a different issue al-together,” he said.
Mapeto’s lead lawyer in the K16.5 billion tax evasion case, John-Gift Mwakhwawa on Wednesday declined to comment on the arrests.
The arrests came barely a day after the company’s executives obtained an injunction restraining chief resident magistrate Jean Kayira from hearing the alleged K16.5 billion tax evasion case pending a High Court judicial review.
Full trial had just started with the State parading its first witness when Mwakhwawa, drew the attention of chief resident magistrate Kayira to an injunction granted by High Court Judge Vikochi Chima.
The defence wanted a 30-day break to allow the new lawyers leading the team time to study the State’s disclosures.
Two weeks ago, Mwakhwawa replaced Jai Banda as lead counsel for the defence; hence, asked for more time to go through all the documents which the State served them.