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MRA, Kamlepo Kalua fight over vehicles

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The Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) Thursday seized two vehicles belonging to son of Rumphi East Member of Parliament (MP), Kamlepo Kalua, Penjani, popularly known as Fredokiss.

The seizure followed a search by officials from the revenue collecting body at Kamlepo’s house in Nkolokosa and that of his son in Namiwawa, Blantyre on Wednesday.

The two vehicles are a white Mercedes Benz registration number RU 5437 and Toyota Land Cruiser V8 registration number KA 8966 which Kalua said are grounded.

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A statement released yesterday by MRA states that the search at Kalua’s house was on suspicion of non-payment of customs duties.

The statement which has been signed by MRA Head of Corporate Affairs, Steven Kapoloma, indicates that the two vehicles were not cleared through Customs and duty was evaded contrary to Customs and Excise Act.

“The Toyota Land Cruiser V8 registration number KA 8966 is registered as Nissan Vanette in the Directorate of Road Transport and Safety Service’s (DRTSS) MALTIS system while the registration number RU 5437 for the Mercedes Benz does not exist in the MALTIS system,” reads part of the statement.

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However, Kalua said the Toyota Land Cruiser was bought locally from an Indian in 2008.

“The VX was bought in 1997 from Toyata Malawi and my son bought it in 2008. So when was it imported as a Nissan Vanette?” he queried.

He added that his son, bought the Mercedes Benz in 2013 and was cleared in 2014 by MRA while wondering how the vehicle could not be seen in the DRTSS MALTIS system.

Meanwhile, Kalua said through lawyer Lusungu Gondwe an injunction has been obtained restraining the tax collecting body from seizing the vehicles.

When The Daily Times visited Penjani Kalua’s residence in Namiwawa, Blantyre, yesterday morning, three police officers were on guard at the gate.

The lawmaker said the officers broke open a garage at the house during the search.

He wondered how the officials could search a house whose owner is away in Nkhata Bay also claiming the officials had no search warrant.

In a dramatic turn of events, another MRA official intruded the premises demanding some documents but was denied as she had no search warrant.

The statement by the revenue collecting body says files seized during the operation are being kept at MRA offices while further verification exercise regarding the allegations is being conducted.

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