Despite being an accountability issue, Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) has allegedly disregarded the Human Rights Defenders Coalition’s (HRDC) request for information regarding Stallion Investment tax remittance record.
The human rights watchdog wrote the MRA commissioner general John Bizwick on May 5 this year requesting for the said information following allegations that owners of the Lilongwe-based business had been evading tax.
The organisation further asked MRA to furnish it with information on whether Stallion Investment has physical registered offices for its operations in the country.
The MRA commissioner general promised on May 5 2021, the day he received the demand, to respond to HRDC “soonest” but for more than a month had not done so.
The development has forced HRDC to follow up their request which they said would help them to verify the tax evasion allegations before making informed decisions on its whistle-blowing initiative.
“HRDC seeks this information from your office following the right under Section 37 of the Constitution as read with the Access to Information Act, Act No. 17 of 2017,” reads HRDC letter addressed to Bizwick dated June 16 2021 and copied to director general of the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB).
When contacted yesterday Biziwick declined to comment on the matter referring The Nation to the authority’s spokesperson Steve Kapoloma who did not respond to both our phone calls as well as WhatsApp message.
But HRDC chairperson Gift Trapence said in an interview that as an institution of integrity, they expected MRA to respond to their letter.
“That is why we have written a follow up letter as a reminder knowing that it’s an urgent matter. We expect MRA to act swiftly. As a professional and efficient institution, they are supposed to timely respond to any communication,” he said.
In March this year, HRDC also wrote ACB director general demanding investigations into allegations of duty evasion and bribing of MRA officers by the Zomba-based H. Adam Wholesalers Neferius.
In their letter, HRDC claimed they had received reports of allegations that Sir H Adam and sons of Zomba, who owned H Adam and Wholesalers Neferius, had been trying to bribe MRA officers to evade paying taxes.
Last month, MRA also pounced on five top managers of Mapeto David Whitehead and Sons for offences bordering on tax evasion.
These included director Faisal Gaffar Latif, managing director Mohamed Gaffar, financial controller Abdul Rashid Bakali, procurement manager Yaseen Muhammad and general manager Martin Mpata. Their case is in court.