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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makwinjaishmael
Guest

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!!!!!!.

Gg
Guest

MRA mbava zokhazokha kkkkkkkkkkkkk

loscosoko
Guest

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!!

Vizier
Guest

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.

hisbolla
Guest

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

Decent Citizen
Guest

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.

mulopwana
Guest

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.

Lord Denning Chatsika
Guest
Lord Denning Chatsika

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

Boyd Kilembey
Guest

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.

Let Us Pray
Guest

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.

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