Public tax collector, the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA), yesterday pounced on Siku Transport Limited in Blanytre and seized vehicles over unpaid withholding tax and value added tax (VAT) estimated at K856 million (about $2.1m).
MRA officers served the distress order directly to Siku Transport managing director Abdul Rashid who was accompanied by his lawyer and a tax consultant at the company’s premises in Makata Industrial Area. The MRA team then proceeded to identify which cars to seize.
MRA corporate affairs manager Wilma Chalulu said in an interview the law allows the public tax collector to sale the property if not redeemed within 14 days.
Said Chalulu: “We have targeted only vehicles this time around, but it can be anything, including buildings or warehouses.”
A court battle is underway despite yesterday’s exercise where Siku Transport is trying to seek an injunction to stop MRA from enforcing the order. Hearing of the matter is expected to come before the High Court in Blantyre next week.
Siku has also applied for judicial review at the High Court’s Commercial Division.
The company complained that MRA’s action, which also garnisheed the company’s bank accounts, was crippling operations.
Siku Transport Limited is arguing that MRA’s action is unreasonable, unethical and unprofessional and not befitting a revenue authority.
But in a sworn affidavit by MRA director of investigations Henry Ngutwa, filed in court, the revenue collecting body argues that it was unfortunate that Siku finds itself in this situation out of its own making.
MRA argued the company was certainly lying to the court that MRA’s enforcement action has crippled the company’s operation, adding it appeared that the company does not keep its money in the banks anymore.