MRA accused of ‘court shopping’ as Malawi court sticks to judicial review on Chihana case: Bingu estate

Malawi Revenue Authority  (MRA) has failed to stop  a judicial review on the decision to arrest  the valuer of former president late Bingu wa Mutharika’s property, Yeremiah Chihana for tax evasion .

Yeremiah Chihana:  Valuer of Bingu's billions

Yeremiah Chihana: Valuer of Bingu’s billions

Chihana, who is the owner of YMW Property Investment Company, was arrested June 19, 2015 on suspicion of tax evasion offences.

On Tuesday, MRA  went to court and lodged an application before Judge John Chirwa to vacate the order of stay and leave for judicial review which he had granted on the case.

MRA argued that Chihana has not disputed that he committed offences under the Value Added Tax (VAT) Act, Taxation Act and Customs and Excise Act.

“There is no serious question to be tried by court at the substantive judicial review as MRA clearly acted reasonably within its lawful mandate. MRA  is of the firm view that its conduct cannot, therefore,  be questioned  as it is sanctioned  by the tax laws of the land,” the tax body submitted their arguments before court.

Chihana is suspected of not remitting Value Added Tax (VAT)  to MRA since 2009.

He is also suspected to have smuggled several motor vehicles into the country without paying applicable customs duties. The estimated amount of taxes and duties is at K1.34 billion.

Lawyer Zwelithini Chipembere, who is among a legal team of Chihana, disagreed with MRA saying are many issues surrounding the case that necessitated the judicial review.

“For example  the vehicles MRA is talking about (Mercedes Benz registration RFZ 679 GP and Nissan Patrol registration  CK 4575) were both locally and were ready to prove it,” said Chipembere .

Lusungu Gondwe a lawyer also representing Chihana, accused MRA of “court shopping” by obtaining a search warrant at Resident Magistrate’s Court in Blantyre, but got a warrant of arrest at the Resident Magistrate’s Court in Lilongwe, yet the case is the same.

Gondwe said he believed that MRA acted in that manner to suppress some material facts .

He argued that if MRA had seized the computers from Chihana, they should  be deposited with the court and that after the arrest and Chihana should be been brought before court to be formally charged.

“None of these happened as the computers were kept at it’s (MRA ) offices while Chihana was locked at Lilongwe police station, “Gondwe s aid on his affidavit .

The property evaluator and entrepreneur, who also owns Vikawu Trust, Steers Auctioneers and Estate Agency, New Chikale beach, YMW International Transport/Bus Services Limited, Limex Limited, Prudential Consultants and Dutch contractors, had claimed his arrests was political motivated and a vendetta after he valued Bingu’s billions.

The figure raised eyebrows about how late Mutharika, who declared around K50 million at the start of his presidential term in 2004,could have accumulated so much wealth within eight years

The late president’s family disputes the figure, saying it is exaggerated .

And MRA quashed assertions that the case is politically inspired, saying the body is empowered by the law to deal with tax issues and that Chihana was not specific in his claims.

Justice Chirwa ruled the court should proceed with judicial review on the matter and set August 18 2015 as the date for the case.

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23 thoughts on “MRA accused of ‘court shopping’ as Malawi court sticks to judicial review on Chihana case: Bingu estate”

  1. makwinjaishmael says:

    He is a good valuer thats a reason why!!!.Dont be afraid of him, he is only going to do his job again in 2019.
    Its political!!!!!!.

  2. Gg says:

    MRA mbava zokhazokha kkkkkkkkkkkkk

  3. loscosoko says:

    I not happy in the way other comments ate written in this column. What is the use of moderation if at all it is essential? Malawians let’s not forget our respect and correct approach. The Head of State no matter how wrong he may be need not to be mentioned with abusive words as those said by Mlopwana in this story. Shame on u Mlopwama!!

  4. Vizier says:

    Using different courts doesn’t necessarily mean the MRA was ‘court shopping’

    Perhaps the search was to be made in Blantyre – so they went to Blantyre court.

    When it came to arrest – maybe it was to be made in Lilongwe – so they went to the Lilongwe court.

    More information on this would be helpful.

  5. hisbolla says:

    IWE APM NA KAOLI KALO KALWARI MOSE MULI VINDERE VYAKUFIKAPO. BINGU WAKAZENGA WULI NDATA YILA??? SOMUKULIMBANA NA YELEMIA???

  6. Decent Citizen says:

    Pitala mbyofo mbyofo wagwa chagwada.How did Bingu a mere bus driver become an overnight billionaire when he was failing to sort out his bills at Bwandiro.We are skeptical if at all he had K50 million before he joined politics.How much salaries do Malawian presidents get to become overnight billionaires?Basi ntchito umbava kumangowanamiza amalawi ngati zenizeni.Stop stealing.Muzingokhalira kuyaluka.

  7. mulopwana says:

    Mwachepa DPP,,,U shall and can’t fight,,its ur loosing battle,,,Yeremiah Chihana is above U,,never mind u fight loosing battles,,Fuc u to Shit fake proffesor,,fuc u,,,do you know Elunyeni?pathako pako Peter mutharika.

  8. Lord Denning Chatsika says:

    MRA has a serious problem of conducting litigation their lawyers rush cases sawenga bwino malamulo how can a competent lawyer obtain two different orders from two different courts one in BT and another inLL zopusa careless and thoughtless senseless and useless thinking aimed at embarrassing people taonani nkhani ya Siku yinakukanijani zitsiru

  9. Boyd Kilembey says:

    If he didnt pay tax, he has to pay tax. This Chihana boy thought he could become an instant billionaire by inflating Bingus estate. If the estate is / was K60bn, you get 10% commission, you are instantlky a K6bn richer man. You can afford to marry Loveness Gondwe and Jeffrey wa Jeffrey both at once…Haaa, haaa.

  10. Let Us Pray says:

    The way this issue looks I can see the Government paying damages to Chihana. The Government must be having a lot of monies to carelessly spend just like this.

  11. Vizier says:

    I would think MRA has the legal power to search computers as part of investigations into tax cases.

    Tax authorise generally do have that power in most countries, unless otherwise injuncted by a court.

  12. Baah says:

    Mbava zokhazokha

  13. Alungwana says:

    Politics and tax collection!

  14. MALOPA Jnr says:

    Ku MRA ko kuli George Mankhwala too much phoning suppliers of goods and services to give him 30% commission or he tells us to exaggerate prices so that he claims the overage

  15. Chikopa says:

    Kodi che Yelemia? Munapereka msonkho? The Judge has erred for setting up August as time to hear the matter. This is a straight forward case – pompo-pompo!

  16. jabulani says:

    You were getting tax invasion favour from Mrs Namuloko because of telling lies in evaluation of late Muthalika’s properties. A fool. You will regret for playing the game of politics in which you have no skills. you will see how politicians make people like you to dance political tunes until the point of regretting. UDANSENGE. USOVENGE, UPWEVUPWEVENGE.

  17. Samuel Lwara says:

    MRA…, just leave Chihana alone, and let him enjoy his life to the fullest. You have a lot of work to do this time for government to implement the just ended defunct and crippled budget. Where were you when he started spending his first one tambala?

  18. munyalika says:

    palibe nkhani apa chihana is free tangoyendetsani dziko

  19. MSANA WA PETURO says:

    Bwanji osagwira chitsiru Masangwi the terminater of Viphya plantations and dear Chasowa’s life?

  20. loyd says:

    Do not run away paying tax. Kuba bwanji? Tikuonanitu!!

  21. kanyimbi says:

    Please do not run away from paying tax.

  22. Alfred Munduwabo says:

    Elemia , you are guided by God , don’t worry much , this is a political case and it will not go far , just the same as Chilupha’s case.

  23. chatonda says:

    When you live in a grass house, do not throw stones. Chihana was on an elephant back during JB time and things have backfired on him. The world is round and one must be worried of tomorrow and less of today. A lesson learn, he will not survive this trap. Where is the noisy wife Loveness Gndwe?

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