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Thursday, May 26, 2022

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Embattled MAPETO Executives Tax Invasion Case’ Delay Irks Malawi Civil Right Groups

By Deus Chikalaza

As the adage goes ‘Justice Delayed is Justice Denied’, some country’s concerned Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) have faulted the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) for delaying a case involving Mapeto David White Head and Sons (MDWS) Directors.

Fizal Latif Gaffar, who is Managing Director at MDWS, a Director Gaffar Latif Zarina Mohammed as well as Gaffar and Muhammed Yaseen, who are proprietors of Star Style Investments, were arrested in September by the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) on Tax invasion charges.

Since their arrest in September, the case has been moving at a snail’s pace a development which has angered CSOs, who are suspecting that money has exchanged hands in order to delay justice.

According to some CSOs who spoke on conditional anonymity, delaying the case is denying millions of Malawians, who are tax payers, the right to know what happened to their tax money amounting to over MK16 billion.

The concerned groups are wondering to why such profile cases could take ages to commerce amid millions of kwacha being siphoned through tax invasion.

Mapeto David White Head and Sons (MDWS) Directors are also suspected to have connived to defraud Malawi government about MK252.6 million in tax revenue, a case which is also taking months to conclude.

In September 2021, the six director were rearrested including Faizal Gaffar Latif, Zalina Latif, who are Directors of Mapeto (DWSM) Limited, and Mohamad Gaffar, the Managing Director; Muhamad Yaseen an employee of Mapeto who is also the proprietor of Star Style Investments, as well as McKnight Banda and Chimwemwe Tembo the Manager and Officer of Fortume Limited Clearing Agency respectively.

MRA Head of Corporate Affairs Steve Kapoloma said that the alleged offences include; conspiracy to commit customs offences, contrary to Section 132 (j) as read with section 142 of the Customs and Excise Act Cap 42:01 (of the Laws of Malawi), Interfering with goods under customs control, contrary to Section 134(d) as read with Sections 3 and 143 of the Customs and Excise Act (Cap 42:01 of the Laws of Malawi) and Uttering a false document contrary to section 360 as read with section 356 of the Penal Code, CAP 7:01 of the Laws of Malawi.

The six, among others, are alleged to have falsified documents presented to Customs for declaration and clearance of fabrics in or around April, 2021 with intent to defraud Government of revenue and will appear before court soon.

This is the second arrest on similar tax evasion. But till now the case’s future is not known.

Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Steven Kayuni was not committal on why the case is being delayed as we went to press.

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