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POLICE PROBE CEMENT DEALS

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Police in Lilongwe on Saturday interrogated Prestige Import and Export owner, Mahmed Shafee Ahmed Chunara, over his involvement in the importation of 60,000 tonnes duty-free cement by former President Peter Mutharika, The Daily Times has established.

Chunara confirmed being invited to National Police Headquarters for questioning yesterday but refused to shed more light on the matter, referring The Daily Times to the police.

Said Chunara when asked about the interrogation: “I have nothing much to say. Ask the police if you want details. My friend, I am a legitimate businessman and do my business following the laws of the land. Talk to police, they have all the details.”

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National Police Headquarters Spokesperson, James Kadadzera, asked for more time to confirm if Chunara had indeed been probed by the police.

Chunara was named in Malawi Revenue Authority documents indicanting that he was involved in the importantion of 1.2 million bags of cement worth K5 billion.

Police sources told The Daily Times yesterday that, among others, Chunara has implicated a former State House senior official in the matter.

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According to the source, Chunara claims that the imports were initiated by the State House official and that all the border clearances were done by State House officials.

The police source added that Chunara claimed there is documented evidence that the cement was collected by the State House official and that the documents have been surrendered to the authorities.

President Peter Mutharika is said to have imported 1.2 million bags of cement duty-free in three batches.

The consignment is an equivalent of 2,000 thirty tonner articulated trucks carrying a maximum of 600 cement bags each.

Each consignment was valued at $2.240 million, bringing the total cost of the three consignments to $6.720 million (about K5.040 billion).

The first clearance was made on November 28, 2018 while the second clearance was given on July 1, 2019. The third clearance was issued on December 16, 2019 and was all signed by Malawi Revenue Authority Deputy Commissioner, Technical – Customs and Excise, Abigail Kawamba.

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