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HRDC asks ACB, FIA to probe trader

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Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) has asked the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) and Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA) to investigate reports of bribery and foreign exchange externalisation involving trader H Adams Wholesalers.

A letter, which HRDC Chairperson Gift Trapence and National Coordinator Luke Tembo have signed, indicates that the communication is part of the coalition’s whistleblower initiative.

“HRDC has received reports of allegations that Sir H Adam and Sons of Zomba, who owns H Adam and Wholesalers Neferius, has been trying to bribe MRA [Malawi Revenue Authority] officers to enable him to evade paying taxes to the Malawi Revenue Authority. It is further alleged that he has been externalising money invested in properties in the UK [United Kingdom], RSA [Republic of South Africa] and UAE [United Arab Emirates] [and also] that the wholesale has been importing food staffs and bypass[ing] the Malawi Bureau of Standards certification.

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“HRDC is calling upon MRA, ACB and FIA to investigate the allegations on duty evasion, externalisation of money and attempt to bribe MRA Officers. HRDC is further calling for investigations on how the owner of H Adam Wholesalers accumulated wealth abroad,” the letter reads.

Trapence confirmed authoring the letter, saying the initiative would always be there to protect the public purse from abuse.

“We received the whistleblower information that the company is evading taxes and also externalising forex. This is why we have written the two institutions to investigate them. The initiative will always be there regardless of the administration in power because this is the public’s initiative,” he said

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FIA spokesperson Masautso Ebere said the authority had not received the letter yet, adding that, if it arrived, it would be handled the way such information is handled.

“Section 5 of the Financial Crimes Act says the general public can give us any such information. So, when the letter is received, we will handle it using the internal process of handling such information from the general public,” he said.

ACB acting Director Elias Bodole said he was yet to receive the letter but referred The Daily Times to ACB spokesperson Egrita Ndala. Ndala asked for more time to find out if the bureau has received the letter.

H Adams Wholesalers spokesperson Eliza Kachale asked for a questionnaire but was yet to respond as we went to press.

Efforts to talk to one of the managers also proved futile as he did not respond to the questions emailed to him and his telephone could not be reached as he was reported to be outside the country.

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