- Suspects K50m duty evasion
The Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) on Thursday impounded seven vehicles belonging to former State Residences director general Peter Mukhitho on suspicion of not paying duty on them.
MRA head of corporate affairs Steven Kapoloma said in a statement on Thursday that the public tax collector impounded the vehicles following a search at Mukhito’s residence in Lilongwe.
“The search has resulted in the detention of the seven motor vehicles pending production of customs clearance documentation. The detained motor vehicles are being kept at MRA offices while the authority conducts further investigations,” he said.
The impounded vehicles are a Toyota Landcruiser VX8 registration BW 6060, a Mercedes Benz with personalised registration CPM 2, a VW Passat registration CP 7074, a Toyota Fortuner registration MH 960 and a Bentley with South African registration FW16LS-GP.
The list also includes a Range Rover and a Toyota Landcruiser VX8, both not registered.
An MRA source on Thursday confided that the total duty Mukhito is suspected not to have paid for the vehicles was in excess of K50 million.
Said the source: “The amount of duty that is suspected to have not been paid is over K50 million. It can’t be less than that.”
Procedurally, before motor vehicles are registered at the Directorate of Road Traffic and Safety Services they are required to have a customs clearance certificate issued by MRA among critical documents.
The impounding of the vehicles has come barely two days after police briefly arrested Mukhito, who previously served as Inspector General of Police, before releasing him on bail the same Tuesday. He was arrested in connection with the importation of 60 000 metric tonnes of cement duty-free by a businessperson purportedly using then president Peter Mutharika’s duty-free status.
Efforts to get a reaction of Mukhito proved futile as we went to press as his phone number was consistently out of reach.
Mukhito, who served as police chief in the administration of then president Bingu wa Mutharika until April 2012, was director general of State Residences in the Peter Mutharika administration that was ousted in the court-ordered June 23 fresh presidential election.