Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) has seized 47 vehicles over non-payment of custom duty.
The operation carried out together with the Directorate of Road Traffic and Safety Services (DRTSS) will see MRA recovering lost revenue amounting to K488 million.
The vehicles, most of which are Toyota Fortuners owned by car rentals, were smuggled into Malawi and fraudulently registered at DRTSS.
“Out of 47 vehicles seized, 9 vehicles were seized in Mzuzu, 5 in Blantyre, 13 in the Eastern region and 21 in the Central region. The total assessed duty was K381,099,872.54 and penalties charged were K107,439,184.16,” MRA said on its website.
This means that total revenue exceeding K488 million has been recovered.
According to MRA, a report on the joint operation states that the exercise was undertaken after discovering that there was an increased number of seized motor vehicles for non-payment of duty.
The joint operation involved patrols, surveillance, spot checks, compliance history and the use of informants. The MRA and DRTSS teams conducted patrols and surveillance on vehicles suspected to have been dubiously cleared or registered.
“During the operation a total of 47 motor vehicles were seized for non-payment of duties upon the vehicles being imported into Malawi and one consignment of assorted groceries was also seized for false declaration,” MRA said.
An analysis of the seizures indicates that 35 of the vehicles were bought locally and were already registered with DRTSS but duty was not paid.
The authority also observed that most of the seized vehicles were owned by car rentals and that there are many vehicles registered with DRTSS but they were not duly cleared.