The Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) would like to commend the Mchinji Malawi Police Service and communities around Ludzi turn-off for preventing a mob from destroying a camp belonging to the Authority’s Flexible Anti-Smuggling Team (FAST). The incident occurred on Sunday, 7th February, 2021.
MRA Head of Corporate Affairs Steven Kapoloma says preliminary investigations have implicated a police officer.
“The mob was ferried to the camp by Zyulio Pondamali, astonishingly, a police officer working at Namitete Police Station. Pondamali mobilised the gang to destroy the camp because his minibus, a Nissan Caravan registration number MH 7256, was involved in an accident while conveying smuggled goods. The minibus is said to have overturned near Guilleme turn off due to a tyre burst as a result of over speeding. The accident led to the death of the minibus driver.
“The Authority would like to put it on record that its FAST operation in Mchinji was not involved in the accident. FAST was not in pursuit of the minibus as alleged by Pondamali since the patrol team was not in the area where the accident occurred,” said Kapoloma.
Meanwhile Pondamali is under arrest at Mchinji Police Station and more arrests are expected as investigations are ongoing.
MRA has since commended the surrounding community at Ludzi turn-off for working in unison to protect the camp from the assailants. The Authority is also highly grateful for the professional conduct of the Malawi Police Service in handling the matter.
“The Authority reiterates that smuggling is a serious offence under the Customs & Excise Act. Besides depriving the Government of revenue for public investment and services, smuggling distorts market prices thereby robbing local businesses of fair competition. With time, this malpractice leads to the collapse of local industries,” Kapoloma said.
MRA is encouraging the public to report suspected cases of smuggling, tax evasion and tax fraud using the Toll-Free Line 847 for Airtel, TNM and ACCESS and 80000847 for MTL. Those providing relevant tips are rewarded under a robust Informant Scheme. Rewards range from a minimum of 10 percent of the taxes recovered to a maximum of K500,000.
Taxpayers can also obtain information and guidance on importation of goods and any tax issues by calling MRA Call Centre on 672 for free.
BY HENRY MCHAZIME