MRA's Lloyd Muhara has been fired

The Commissioner General for the troubled Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) Lloyd Muhara has been fired.

Newly appointed chairperson of MRA Board, Thom Mpinganjira, has confirmed Muhara has since been replaced by John Bizwick who has been serving as Chief Executive Officer for NBS Bank.

"The board of Malawi Revenue Authority is pleased to announce the appointment of John Bizwick as the new Commissioner General with effect from June 1, 2012.

"He will succeed Mr Lloyd Muhara who has served in the position since 2009," stated a statement signed by Mpinganjira.

Muhara's sacking comes barely a month after revelations made by Minister of Finance Ken Lipenga that the revenue collection body borrowed a reported K30 billion from commercial banks to prop up figures in the highly-criticised Zero Deficit Budget (ZDB).

But appearing before the Budget and Finance Committee of Parliament mid last month, Muhara and his team said the body did not borrow money from banks as alleged but was rather used as a conduit for reasons known to the Ministry of Finance.

He said MRA had a shortfall in its collections by December 2011, a development which he said the Ministry of Finance was informed, and could not therefore have borrowed from banks to prop up figures that were already sent to the Treasury.

Following the revelations, there have been calls for President Joyce Banda to fire both Lipenga and Muhara.

Banda, however, only moved to institute a cabinet committee headed by Vice President Khumbo Kachali to establish whether Lipenga was aware of MRA's said borrowing.

In the statement, Mpinganjira indicated that Bizwick would be responsible for day to day management of the authority to achieve its goals and further the mission of the organisation including spearheading the tax modernisation reforms.

"Bizwick brings to the tax administration over 30 years of professional banking experience having served in senior and ex management positions at the Reserve Bank of Malawi and NBS Bank respectively.

"The board is also wishing the Former Commissioner General Mr Muhara all the best in his future endeavours," Mpinganjira concluded in the statement.

However, the fate of Lipenga is not yet known despite the elapse of seven days President Banda gave the committee to produce results of their probe.

The Daily Times understands though that the committee completed its investigation.

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