Malawi High Court to rule July 27 on Mutharika’s family vs MRA case

The Malawi High Court in Blantyre on Thursday adjourned to next Friday its ruling on the judicial review in a case involving late President Bingu wa Mutharika’s family and the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA).

MRA wrote late Mutharika’s brother, Peter, who is also Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) leader demanding customs duty on 41 vehicles the former president bought on duty free status whilst still in power.

But the Mutharika family protested and obtained an injunction restraining the tax-collecting body from impounding the vehicles arguing it had a constitutional right to property and freedom from arbitrary deprivation of property

Counsel for MRA argued the family should pay duty if it wants to use the vehicles because the family members no longer enjoy the privilege of duty free status following the death of the former president.

Duwa and Tapiwa Mutharika:
Duwa and Tapiwa Mutharika: Challenging government’s claim on estate duty

On Thursday, Presiding Judge Dunstain Mwaungulu, who took over the case following the death of Justice Joseph Manyungwa in April this year, adjourned the case to Friday next week when he will make his ruling on the judicial review of the case.

Arguments in court was as to whether late Mutharika had disposed of vehicles involuntarily at the time of his death, which the family argued were still under the deceased estate and as such the issue of payment of duty does not arise.

In his earlier determination, Justice Mwaungulu demanded MRA to state the law that calls into question the principle of involuntary disposal.

Justice Mwaungulu argued that any ruling he might make might have far reaching consequences and would affect future presidents, cabinet ministers, MPs, Judges who are entitled to duty free status in the event that they die in office.

In another development the High Court in Zomba has set August 7 as the date for hearing of a case where government is claiming K5 billion from Mutharika’s deceased estate.

Government, through an estate commissioner, is claiming the K5 billion (about $12m) estate duty cut from Mutharika’s controversial deceased estate estimated at K61 billion by a private evaluator the State engaged.

But the Mutharika family, through daughters of the former president Duwa and Tapiwa, is challenging the government’s claim.

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