Customs and Excise Act
- Commenced on 1 June 1969
- [This is the version of this document as it was at 31 December 2014.]
- [Note: This version of the Act was revised and consolidated in the Fifth Revised Edition of the Laws of Malawi (L.R.O. 1/2018), by the Solicitor General and Secretary for Justice under the authority of the Revision of the Laws Act.]
Part I – Preliminary
1. Short titleThis Act may be cited as the Customs and Excise Act.
3. Goods subject to customs controlGoods subject to customs control include the following—
4. Time of importation and exportation
5. Entered goodsFor the purposes of the customs laws, goods shall be deemed to be entered when the appropriate declaration is presented in accordance and in compliance with the customs laws and is accepted and, if appropriate, signed by the proper officer, and when any duty due in respect of such goods has been paid or security has been accepted for the compliance with the provisions of the customs laws by the proper officer, or where such security has been waived by the proper officer in such case as he thinks fit.[5 of 1972]
Part II – Administration
6. Appointment and ControllerThere shall be appointed a Controller of Customs and Excise who shall, subject to any written law relating to the public service, and to the special and general directions of the Minister, be in charge of the Department and shall be responsible for—
8. Prescriptions and appointments by Minister
9. Appointments by ControllerThe Controller may appoint—
10. Licensed private sidings and air freight licensees
11. Conditions in respect of customs areas
12. Hours of service
Part III – General powers of officers
13. Powers in respect of persons
14. Powers in respect of packages
15. Powers of entry, etc., of proper officers
16. Powers in respect of conveyances, etc.
17. Power to patrol freely
18. Power to take samplesAn officer may at any time take and retain, without payment, samples of any goods for examination or for ascertaining the duties payable thereon or for such other purposes as the Controller may consider necessary and any such samples shall be dealt with and accounted for in such manner as the Controller may direct:Provided that any sample so taken shall be of the minimum quantity considered by the officer to be adequate for the purpose and shall, whenever possible, be returned to the owner.
19. Power of arrest
20. Damage to premises etc. resulting from exercising of powers
Part IV – Importation
21. Prohibited and restricted imports
22. Arrival of aircraft and vesselsExcept as provided in section 170 the master of every aircraft or vessel arriving from a foreign port—
23. Boarding of aircraft or vesselsExcept with the permission of the proper officer no person other than a pilot, harbour master, health officer or other public officer in the exercise of his duties—
24. Declaration of masterWithin three hours after the arrival in Malawi of any aircraft from any foreign port or within twenty-four hours after the arrival in Malawi of any vessel from any foreign port (or within such further period or periods after such arrival as the Controller may allow) and before the unloading of any goods from such aircraft or vessel, the master or agent of such aircraft or vessel shall, except as provided in section 25 or section 170—
25. Controller may dispense with declarationWhen an aircraft or vessel arrives at a port and proceeds directly to another port without calling at a foreign port the Controller may, subject to such conditions as he may impose, dispense with the declaration or any part thereof at any port or approved wharf other than the first port of arrival.
26. Retention and unloading of cargoThe master of any aircraft or vessel at a port may not, without the prior permission of the proper officer and in accordance with such conditions as he may impose, retain on board any cargo consigned to that port or unload at that port any cargo not consigned thereto.
27. Arrival of trainsThe person in charge of any train shall, upon arrival in a port and before unloading or in any way disposing of any goods subject to customs control, report his arrival to the proper officer at such port, and shall produce to the proper officer such books and documents or computer records or other electronic data as may be prescribed.[11 of 2003]
28. Arrival of vehicles other than trainsThe person in charge of any vehicle, other than a train, arriving from a foreign port, whether or not such vehicle is conveying goods—
29. Arrival of persons
30. Imported goods
31. Unloading and removal of goodsSave as otherwise provided in the customs laws, all goods imported, other than those removed into a licensed private siding, shall, upon being unloaded, be removed directly into—
32. Entry of goods
33. Exceptions to removal and entry requirementsNotwithstanding the provisions of sections 31 and 32—
34. Entry in absence of documents
35. Responsibility for imported goods and dutyWithout prejudice to the liability of the importer of goods to cause entry to be effected in accordance with section 32 (1), goods which have been imported by any conveyance shall also remain the responsibility of the owner of the importing conveyance, and such owner shall be responsible for compliance with the customs laws and liable for the duty on all such goods until such goods have been entered or otherwise accounted for to the satisfaction of the Controller.[5 of 1972]
36. Temporary importation
Part V – Customs warehouses
37. Application of PartThis Part shall not apply to abandoned or forfeited goods.
38. Goods deposited in customs warehouses
39. Sale of goods
40. Goods deemed to be in a customs warehouse
Part VI – Bonded warehouses
41. Licensing of bonded warehouses
42. Transfer of licenceA bonded warehouse licence may, on application to the Controller, be transferred to apply to a different place approved by the Controller in accordance with section 41 and which is in the possession of the person to whom the licence has been issued, but no licence may be transferred from one person to another.
43. Revocation or non-renewal of licences
44. Licensees to provide facilities, and keep records etc.
45. Entry for warehousing
46. Operations in bonded warehouseThe Controller may permit, subject to such conditions as he may impose—
47. Entry of warehoused goods
48. Sampling of warehoused goods
Part VII – Carriage coastwise
49. Carriage coastwise
Part VIII – Exportation
50. Prohibited and restricted exports
51. Entry for exportation
52. Loading of goods
53. Failure to export
54. Departure of aircraft and vessels
55. Departure of vehicles and persons
56. Procedure to a foreign portThe master or person in charge of any conveyance shall not, after departure to a foreign port, cause or permit such conveyance to land, touch or enter at any place within Malawi except in accordance with the customs laws.
57. Attempts to exportFor the purposes of the customs laws, the entry of goods for exportation, the loading, taking or placing of any goods upon a conveyance which is about to leave Malawi or has other goods in it which are to be exported, the handing of any goods to any carrier or transport company or to the master or owner of a vessel or aircraft for the purpose of exportation or the placing in the post of a package addressed to a place outside Malawi, shall be deemed to be an attempt to export.
Part IX – Stores
58. Entry of goods for use as stores
59. Surplus storesThe proper officer may permit surplus stores to be entered for warehousing for future use as stores even if they are prohibited or restricted goods.
Part X – Transit
60. Goods in transit
61. Transit without entrySubject to such conditions as the Controller may impose goods imported on any conveyance which are intended to remain in and do remain in that conveyance may, subject to the approval of the proper officer, pass through Malawi without entry and be deemed to be goods in transit.
62. Security for goods in transit
Part XI – Excise management
63. Minister may make regulationsThe Minister may make regulations providing for—
64. Excise licences
65. Licences, issue, conditions, etc.
65A. Renewal of licences
66. Entry of premises, etc.
67. Marking of rooms etc.Every holder of an excise licence shall mark the rooms, stores, plant, equipment, vessels and warehouses referred to on his entry of premises in such manner as may be prescribed or as the Controller may direct and shall not remove, obliterate or erase such mark except with the consent of the proper officer.
68. Accommodation etc.
69. Excise bondEvery applicant for an excise licence shall furnish such security, and in such amount, as the Controller considers appropriate as a condition to the grant of the excise licence; and such security shall be subject to such conditions for compliance with the customs laws as the Controller may specify either generally or in any particular case.
70. Name of licence holder to be exhibitedEvery holder of an excise licence shall, if required by the Controller, have his name affixed in a conspicuous place on the outside of the entered premises in such form and manner as the Controller may direct.
71. Security of buildings etc.
72. TablesFor the purpose of calculating the full quantity of excisable goods produced on any entered premises, tables may be prescribed showing the quantity of such goods which shall be deemed to have been produced from a given quantity of material, or the quantity of fully manufactured goods which shall be deemed to have been produced from a given quantity of partly manufactured goods subject to such allowances as may be prescribed therewith.
73. Stores and excise warehouses
74. Prohibitions in respect of excisable goods
75. Stock books, etc.
76. Liability to excise duty
77. Excise return and payment of excise dutyUnless the Controller directs to the contrary either generally or in any particular case or for any particular period of time, the payment of duty on excisable goods may be deferred for a period not exceeding twenty days from the end of each month in respect of disposals of excisable goods during that month and the duty on all such disposals during that month shall be paid to the Controller no later than the twentieth day of the succeeding month supported by—
77A. Cigarette tax stamps
78. SamplesSubject to such conditions as the Controller may approve, a holder of an excise licence may take such samples from his products, at any stage of their manufacture, as may be necessary for the proper conduct of this business as a manufacturer of excisable goods and the Controller may remit the duty on such samples.
79. Responsibility for losses, etc.No action shall lie against the Government or any officer or person in the employ of Government in respect of the loss of or damage to any excisable goods in entered premises, or in respect of any incorrect or improper delivery therefrom or thereto.
80. Procedure upon termination of licence
81. Keeping of stills
Part XII – Duties
82. Duties payableSubject to the provisions of the customs laws, there shall be charged, levied, collected and paid under this Act—
83. Tariffs prescribed
84. Procedure for prescribed or amending tariff
85. Investigations as to dumpingThe Minister may make regulations governing the manner in which complaints as to the dumping of goods shall be made and investigated and such regulations may provide, inter alia, that—
86. Payment of dumping dutiesDumping duties shall be payable by the importer on the importation of the goods concerned except that in the case of sales dumping duty, such duty shall be payable by the seller of such goods within Malawi, and dumping duties shall be payable in addition to any other duty payable or paid on such goods:Provided that where goods are imported under rebate of the ordinary duty for use in manufacture in Malawi no dumping duty shall be payable unless it is prescribed that the dumping duty shall apply to such goods.
87. Seller under contract may recover any increase and purchaser may deduct any decrease of duty
88. Rate of duty in relation to time of importation, exportation or entryUnless otherwise provided under this Act—
89. Rebates in respect of specified countriesSubject to the provisions of sections 117 and 118, rebates of customs duties may be allowed in respect of goods imported into Malawi which have been grown, produced or manufactured in countries specified for the purpose in the customs tariff.
90. Sellers of goods to produce proof of payment of dutyAny person being in possession or control of imported goods or goods which are liable to duty under the provisions of this Act, and any person who offers for sale, exports, or attempts to export such goods or has such goods entered in his books or mentioned in any document referred to in section 167 shall, when requested by an officer so to do, produce proof as to the place and date of entry of the goods and that duty due thereon was paid. If he himself did not pay the duty or make entry of the goods, such person shall produce such evidence as the officer may require to enable him to discover the person who did make such entry and payment in respect of the goods.
91. Short levy or erroneous refund
92. Liens and preferencesThe correct amount of duty payable in respect of any goods or services shall, from the time when it should have been paid, constitute a debt due to the Government by the person concerned, and shall, at any time after it becomes due, be recoverable in court by proceedings in the name of the Controller, and any goods in a bonded warehouse or in the custody of the Department or any goods used or produced in the business concerned and belonging to that person, and any goods afterwards imported or entered for exportation by the person by whom the duty is due, shall, while still under the control of the Department, be subject to a lien for such debt and may be detained by the Department until such debt is paid, and the claims of the Government shall have priority over the claims of all persons upon the said goods of whatever nature and may be enforced by sale or other proceedings if the debt is not paid within three months after the date upon which it became due.[25 of 1988]
93. Payment of fines and duty instalments
94. Provisions relating to collection of dutiesNotwithstanding the provisions of this Act—
96. Suspensions, rebates, remissions and refunds of duty
97. DrawbackWhere goods are exported from Malawi in accordance with this Act, drawback of any duty paid on such goods or on any materials used in the manufacture or processing of such goods in Malawi may be granted in accordance with and subject to such limitations and conditions as may be prescribed in regulations made under this Act.
98. Remission of duty on goods exportedSubject to compliance with the provisions of any security or undertaking required by the Controller in accordance with this Act, the duties otherwise payable shall be remitted on goods which are entered for
99. Remission or refund of duty upon loss etc. of goods
100. Refund of moneys paid to Department
101. Refund of cash deposits
102. Goods returned for destruction or further manufactureSubject to such conditions and limitations as may be prescribed, there shall be granted to the holder of an excise licence a refund of excise duty and surtax paid by him on any goods manufactured by him which, after being found defective or otherwise unsuitable for consumption—
103. Deficiencies in goods subject to customs control
104. Surpluses in goods subject to customs controlWhere any surplus is found in goods subject to customs control the owner shall forthwith upon demand being made by the proper officer enter and pay duty on so much of the surplus as is not accounted for to the satisfaction of the Controller:Provided that nothing in this section shall prejudice the right of the Controller to institute proceedings for any infringement of the customs laws which gave rise to such surplus.
105. Destruction of goods subject to customs controlIf the owner of any goods subject to customs control wishes to destroy such goods or any portion of them, the Controller may, upon written request by the owner, allow such destruction under the supervision of an officer and upon being satisfied that the goods concerned or any portion of them have been destroyed shall remit or refund the duty payable or paid on such goods, but without prejudice to the claim of duty on such portion of the goods as remain. If the destruction takes place in any place other than a customs area the owner shall pay such fees as may be prescribed in respect of the attendance of an officer.
106. Bringing into force and publication of agreements
107. Duties under agreements may be suspended etc.Any suspension, rebate, remission or refund of customs duty granted in accordance with section 96 shall be extended to any corresponding special rate of duty which may be applicable under any agreement to goods grown, produced or manufactured in any particular country unless the Minister by notice published in the Gazette otherwise directs.
108. Agreements to prevailThe provisions of any agreement brought into force in accordance with section 106 shall have force and effect notwithstanding anything inconsistent therewith contained elsewhere in the customs laws.
109. Burden of proof in respect of claimsWhere any claim is made for exemption from or suspension, drawback, rebate, remission or refund of any duty, fee or charge in accordance with the provisions of this Act, the burden of proof shall lie upon the claimant to show that he is entitled to such exemption, suspension, drawback, rebate, remission or refund.
110. Classification of goods
Part XIIA – Sutrax[Sections 110A-110R repealed by section 65 of the Surtax Act, Cap. 42: 02][25 of 1988][14 of 2001]
Part XIII – Value, quantity and origin
111. Value of imported goods
112. Appeals against valuationIf an owner or importer is of the opinion that goods have been incorrectly valued under section 111 (1) he may appeal to the Controller.
113. Rate of exchangeThe rate of exchange to be used for the conversion of any value expressed in the currency of a foreign country shall be the rate of exchange, as the Controller may determine after consultation with the Reserve Bank of Malawi, at the time when the duty becomes payable.[3 of 1993]
114. Valuation of exported goods
115. Weights and measures
116. Strength of spiritsUnless otherwise specially provided, all spirits shall be deemed to be of such strength as is ascertained by such tests as are prescribed.[9 of 1979]
117. Origin of goodsFor the purposes of this Act, the country of origin of any goods, shall be deemed to be, in the case of goods not manufactured, the country in which such goods were grown or produced, or, in the case of manufactured goods, the country in which the last process of manufacture was performed.
118. Specified country content of goods on which preferential rates of duty are allowed
119. Burden of proof of originWhen, for any purpose under the provisions of this Act, it is necessary to prove the country of origin of any goods, the onus of proof of such origin shall be upon the owner or importer of such goods.
Part XIV – Disputes as to amount of duty payable
120. Appointment of Special RefereeFor the purpose of hearing and determining appeals under section 121 the Minister shall appoint a Special Referee.
121. Determination of disputes
122. ProcedureThe procedure on any appeal shall be as determined by the Special Referee, who may permit evidence to be led by the Controller, the appellant and any person who has entered an appearance in accordance with the provisions of section 121 (5).
Part XV – Securities
123. Controller may require securityThe Controller may require the owner of any goods subject to customs control to give security in respect of such goods for the protection of the revenue and compliance with the customs laws, and, pending the giving of any such security, the Controller may refuse to permit their unloading, removal, delivery or exportation.
124. Securities generally
125. Provisions relating to sureties
126. Enforcement of bond or guarantee
Part XVI – Agents
127. Authorized agents
128. Customs agents
128A. Appointment of Advisory Committee and Appeals Committee
129. Master may appoint agent
130. Liability of agentAny authorized agent or an agent appointed under section 129 who performs any act on behalf of his principal or of the master of an aircraft or vessel shall, for the purposes of the customs laws, be deemed to be such principal or master in respect of such act and shall, accordingly be personally liable for the performance of all related acts and obligations including the payment of any duty and the answering of any questions which may be required of the principal or master under the provisions of the customs laws, and may be prosecuted for any offence committed by the principal or master as if he had himself committed the offence:Provided that nothing herein contained shall relieve the principal or master from liability for the performance of any act or obligation under the customs laws or from prosecution under the customs laws.
131. Liability of principal for acts of other personsAny principal or master of an aircraft or vessel who authorizes any other person to act for him for any purpose under the customs laws shall be liable for the acts and statements of such other person in respect of that authorization and may accordingly be prosecuted for any offence committed by such other person as if the principal or master had himself committed the offence:Provided that—
Part XVII – Offences and penalties
132. Offences in respect of personsAny person who—
133. Accessories etc.Any person who—
134. Offences in respect of goodsAny person who—
135. Offences in respect of documents, books, licences, etc.
136. Offences in respect of conveyances
137. Offences by masters or persons in charge of conveyances
138. Offences in respect of customs areasAny person who—
139. Offences by or in relation to officers
140. Special offences in respect of exciseAny person who—
141. Offences by officers of corporations, etc.Any contravention of the customs laws by a person acting in his capacity as a director, manager, secretary or other similar officer or a partner of a company, firm, society or other body of persons shall be deemed to be a contravention by such company, firm, society or other body of persons as the case may be.
142. Penalties for certain offences
143. General penaltyAny person guilty of an offence against this Act for which no penalty is otherwise specifically provided shall be liable to a fine of K10, 000 or to three times the value of the goods in respect of which the offence was committed, whichever is the greater, and to imprisonment for three years.[37 of 1998]
143A. Penalty for offences committed under s. 140Any person who commits an offence under section 140 (g) shall be liable on conviction to a fine of five times the Excise or revenue involved in the commission of the offence and to imprisonment for two years.[12 of 2008]
143B. Administrative penaltiesAny person who contravenes—
144. Offences cognizableAll offences under the customs laws shall be cognizable to the police.
Part XVIII – Forfeiture, seizure, embargo and abandonment
145. Goods liable to forfeiture
146. Seizure of goods
147. Detention and disposal of seized goods
148. Forfeited goodsWhere any goods are forfeited under the customs laws such goods shall, without compensation, vest in the Government and may be sold, destroyed or otherwise disposed of as the Controller thinks fit. If the goods are sold the Controller may make such payments out of the proceeds of the sale as he thinks fit in respect of expenses incurred in the sale, carriage charges claimed by and due to any carrier, or warehouse rent, storage charges and porterage charges:Provided that any claim for such payment shall be made in writing and shall be delivered to the Controller not later than six months after the sale of the goods.
149. Embargo on goods
150. Abandonment of goodsWhere any goods are subject to customs control the Controller may, subject to such conditions as he may impose, permit the owner of such goods to abandon them to the Department and in that case the Controller shall, if so requested at the time, remit or refund the duty payable or paid on such goods, as the case may be. Upon such abandonment such goods shall, without compensation, vest in the Government and may, at the expense of the owner thereof, be sold, destroyed or otherwise disposed of in such manner as the Controller may direct:Provided that this section shall not apply to goods which are seized or forfeited or which are placed under embargo under section 149, or in respect of which an offence has been committed.
151. SavingFor the avoidance of doubt, any action taken in accordance with this Part shall not—
Part XIX – Legal proceedings
152. Jurisdiction in respect of claimsAny civil proceedings under the customs laws relating to any claim to any goods which have been seized under the customs laws, and any claim to any duty, rent, charge, expense or other sum, payable under the customs laws, may be heard and determined without limit of amount before a court of a Resident Magistrate.
153. General immunity from legal proceedingsExcept as otherwise specifically provided in the customs laws, no claim shall lie against the Government, the Department, the Controller, nor any officer for anything done in good faith under the powers conferred by the customs laws.
154. Actions by or against the Controller
155. Limitation of proceedings
156. Provisions relating to burden of proofIn any proceedings under the customs laws—
157. Provisions relating to evidenceIn any proceedings under the customs laws—
158. Provisions relating to witnesses
159. Effect of conviction or acquittal on goods or conveyance liable to forfeiture
160. Proceedings for recovery of goods etc.Where proceedings have been instituted pursuant to a notice under section 147 (4) for the recovery of such goods, conveyance or security, then—
161. Innocent owners to be heard before forfeiture
Part XX – Settlement of cases by the Controller
162. Settlement by agreement
163. Orders of settlementWhere the Controller makes an order of settlement under this Part, then—
Part XXI – General
164. Declarations and signing of documents
165. Invalid declaration
166. Translation of foreign documentsWhere any document written in a language other than English is presented to any officer for any purpose connected with the customs laws, such officer may require a translation into English to be made, at the expense of the owner or person presenting such document, by such person as the Controller may approve.
167. Persons carrying on business to keep proper recordsEvery person carrying on any business which involves handling or dealing with goods shall keep or cause to be kept within Malawi, in the English language, reasonable and proper records and accounts in indelible writing or in electronic data of all his transactions, to the satisfaction of the Controller. Every such person shall, if so required at any time within a period of two years after the date of the importation or purchase of any goods, produce any bills of lading, rail notes, invoices and all other documents and books containing any particulars regarding those goods, and shall allow such documents and books at all reasonable times within such period to be open for inspection by an officer in the course of his duty.[11 of 2003]
168. Operations in respect of goods subject to customs controlSubject to such conditions as he may impose and to the giving of such security as he may think appropriate, the proper officer, in respect of any goods subject to customs control, may permit—
169. Transfer of ownershipThe owner of any goods subject to customs control may transfer the ownership to any other person who may lawfully own such goods, but the proper officer may refuse to recognize any such transfer of ownership unless notice thereof has been given to him, prior to the transfer, by the owner.
170. Wrecked, abandoned, etc. conveyances
171. Uncustomed flotsam, jetsam and wrecks
172. Power of Controller in special caseNotwithstanding any provisions of the customs laws to the contrary, the Controller may, in order to meet the exigencies of any special case—
173. RewardsThe Controller may, with the approval of the Minister, offer and order such rewards as he may think fit to be paid to any officer or other person for services rendered in connexion with the detection of smuggling or any other offence against the customs laws, or in connexion with any seizure made under the customs laws.
174. Handling etc. of goods, at risk and expense of ownerExcept as otherwise specifically provided in the customs laws, all handling, storage and transportation of goods for the purposes of the customs laws shall be performed at the risk and expense of the owner of such goods:Provided that an action shall lie against the Controller for any loss or damage to goods or additional expense caused by the gross negligence or wilful misconduct of an officer acting or purporting to act in his official capacity.
175. RegulationsThe Minister may make regulations prescribing all matters which by this Act are required to be or may be prescribed (except as otherwise provided under section 83) or which, in his opinion, are necessary or convenient for the better carrying out or giving effect to the provisions of this Act, and without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing any regulations made under this section may provide for fees or other charges in respect of any act done or service rendered by any officer.
History of this document
01 June 1969
|Customs and Excise (Amendment) Regulations, 2022||Government Notice 7 of 2022|
|Customs and Excise (Tariffs) (Amendment) Order, 2022||Government Notice 6 of 2022|