Court rules Chihana application against Malawi Revenue Authority in tax-evasion case lacks merit

The High Court in Blantyre has thrown away an application by businessman-cum-politician Yeremiah Chihana  for a judicial review his  alleged tax evasion following another ruling  dismissing.

Yeremiah Chihana: Court rules his case lack merit and slapped with costs

the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA)  application to set aside judicial review on Chihana’s arrest

MRA, in conjunction with the Malawi Police Service (MPS), arrested Chihana on suspicion that he, through his companies, evaded tax amounting to about K1.3 billion (about $1.7million).

Chihana,  an opposition politician with the New Rainbow Coalition, came in the limelight when he valued the estate of former president the late Bingu wa Mutharika to be worth K61 billion from just K150 million when he took office eight years earlier.

However, the Mutharika family disputed the assessment as an exaggeration.

Chihana, who has been represented in the matter by Wapona Kitta and Lusungu Gondwe, accused MRA of breaching the terms of the search warrant and warrant of arrest.

He also accused the tax body of court shopping by obtaining a search warrant at a Resident Magistrate’s Court in Blantyre and a warrant of arrest at a Resident Magistrate’s Court in Lilongwe when the case was the same. He argued that MRA did so to suppress some material facts.

But in his determination, Judge Rowland Mbvundula said the court could not establish any wrongful manner  in his arrest and agreed with MRA that it had acted reasonably and within its mandate when obtaining the warrant of arrest and search warrant.

The Judge ruled that the court  could not accept that MRA acted in any wrongful manner “so as to warrant the quashing, setting aside or otherwise condemnation of any of the respondent’s challenged decisions.”

According to the ruling, Chihana’a application lacked merit and dismissed it with costs.

Among several charges that Chihana faces are that he  imported two vehicles without paying customs duty.

But Chihana denied the charges.

The  tax collecting body also seized computers and files of Chihana’s YMW Property Investments Company offices in Lilongwe as part of the tax evasion probe.

Besides YMW Property Investments Company, the businessperson also owns Vikawu Trust, Steers Auctioneers and Estate Agency, New Chikale Beach, YMW International Transport/Bus Services Limited, Limex Limited and Prudential Consultants and Dutch Contractors.

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