The Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) has intercepted two Toyota Fortuners whose owners tried to evade paying duty in Dedza.
In an interview on Monday, MRA corporate affairs deputy director Steven Kapoloma put taxes for the vehicles at K22 million (about $56.4m).
He said the vehicles were intercepted after they bypassed the Dedza Border Post.
“Apparently, the suspects were trying to evade tax. They removed the original South African registration number plates and replaced them with the local ones to avoid recognition.
“Fortunately, our team was tipped off and we apprehended them. The suspects will be charged accordingly,” said Kapoloma.
He said tax evasion denies the country of money that could otherwise be used for social services such as education, health and road construction projects.
He urged communities to report any case of tax evasion to MRA for appropriate action.
In December 2012, MRA struggled to meet its target on value added tax (VAT) and excise duties, collecting K8.79 billion (about $22.5m), K394 million (about $1.1m) below its projection.
MRA further attributed its failure to meet the target to tax evasion or avoidance schemes such as the price transfer schemes, incentives schemes and international treaties.
Smuggling of goods is a criminal act contravening Section 134 of Customs and Excise Act and is punishable under Section 142 of the same Act which states that smugglers shall be charged a minimum of K10 000 (about $25) and a maximum of 10 times the value of duty plus, three years imprisonment with hard labour.