Five Mapeto David Whitehead & Sons officials who are accused of tax evasion have been granted bail.
Senior Resident Magistrate Akya Mwanyongo has released the suspects on bail on conditions that each pays a bail bond of K10 million each and provide two reliable sureties of blood relatives based in Malawi, bonded at K50 million non-cash.
Each of the suspects has also been ordered to report to Malawi Revenue Authority offices every fortnight on Mondays until the trial starts and to surrender their travel documents.
Two Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) employees George Mwaluka and Tsepiso Kaunda have also been implicated in the case. The two MRA workers appeared virtually before Chief Resident Magistrate (South) Jean Kayira were they pleaded not guilty.
The case against the Mapeto officials is expected to be heard by Chief Resident Magistrate (south) Jean Kayira after being transferred from Mwanyongo.
The five Mapeto DWS officials are director Faizal Gaffar Latif, managing director Muhammed Gaffar, financial controller Abdul Rashid Bakali, procurement manager Yaseen Muhammad and general manager Martin Mpata.
They have all pleaded not guilty on 15 counts bordering on tax evasion and money laundering.
Their arrests over the weekend arrests follow investigations the public tax collector carried out at the company for six weeks.
According to MRA, the suspects were selling their products but not fully declaring the sales to MRA which had a direct and negative impact on the revenues they were remitting to MRA with regards to Value Added Tax as well as income tax.
“We have also made the arrests as regards to customs duty evasion. They were technically smuggling goods which are finished products into the country and declaring them as raw materials. This cost us [MRA] substantial amounts of revenue because with the mis-description, we were collecting less than what was supposed to be fully declared,” the authority’s spokesperson said.