Over 1.2 million bags of cement worth about K5 billion were imported into the country duty free with former President Peter Mutharika’s name used in deals also involving businessperson Mohammed Shafee Ahmed Chunara.
According to documents Malawi24 has seen, Mutharika’s Taxpayer Identification Number (TPIN) was used in importation of the cement.
Between November 2018 and December 2019 MRA Deputy Commissioner, Technical – Customs and Excise, Abigail Kawamba on three occasions cleared Mutharika to import cement duty free
In November 2018, Kawamba informed the then Director General of State Residences, Peter Mukhito, that MRA had given State House approval to clear 20,000 metric tonnes of cement from PTC Zimbabwe Limited duty free.
In July last year, the amount of cement cleared duty free was 400,000 bags of cement
“We write to convey the Commissioner General’s approval to clear 400,000 bags of cement as per invoice numbers 884 of 20/06/2019 and 785 of 20/06/2019 duty free in terms of the Customs Procedures Code 418 of the Customs and Excise (Tariffs) Order,” Kawamba said in a letter to Mukhito.
Another 20,000 tonnes of cement was imported duty free in December last year using Mutharika’s TPIN.
According to another document, Mohammed Shafee Ahmed Chunara of Lilongwe cleared the cement at Mchinji border.
Whistleblower Idriss Ali Nassah said the cement was later resold at wholesale.
“Mohammed Shafee Ahmed Chunara of Lilongwe will tell us who gave him Peter Mutharika’s MRA TPIN to use to import cement worth over K5 billion duty-free. The cement was then sold off at wholesale. Chunara will also tell us who were the beneficial owners of this deal,” said Nassah.
Other documents also show that more businesspersons imported cement using Mutharika’s TPIN.
According to one document, in December, 2019 Kawamba informed Worldwide Pharmaceuticals – a company owned by a businessperson of Asian origin – that MRA had approved the company’s application to import 12000 bags of cement.
Badat Agencies and Prestige Import and Export also imported cement worth K200 million using Mutharika’s name.
Meanwhile, social commentator Onjezani Kenani has revealed that he has reported the matter to the Anti-Corruption Bureau.