The Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) has descended on the lawyers representing opposition leaders who are challenging results of the presidential election, claiming that they were rigged in favour of President Peter Mutharika who was declared winner with 38 percent.
Nyasa Times understand that MRA has started auding the lawyers representing the opposition and one of them, Pempo Likongwe failed to add Value Added Tax (VAT) on a K35 000 bill and has been fined K5000 000 which he has paid.
The tax collectors also went to audit Chrales Mhone’s law firm, Chris and Legal.
MRA wants the lawyers to settle their tax liability.
Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda certified the elections case as a constitutional matter and appointed the five-judge panel which comprises comprises Healey Potani, Mike Tembo, Dingiswayo Madise, Ivy Kamanga and Redson Kapindu. to hear the case.
In the case, Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) is the second respondent while President Peter Mutharika is the first respondent to a joint petition from two of the presidential candidates in the May 21 Tripartite Elections, first petitioner Saulos Chilima of UTM Party and the second petitioner Lazarus Chakwera of Malawi Congress Party(MCP).
Last Friday the five-judge panel of the High Court sitting as a Constitutional Court in unanimously dismissed an application by Mutharika to have the petition thrown out for purportedly being “irregular, incompetent and incurably defective”.
MEC has since filed notice of appeal through law firm Churchill & Norris which outlines five grounds of appeal, including a claim that the lower court erred by holding that there is no requirement under the law for an election petition to be verified by a sworn statement and by holding that a petition is not a claim in terms of Order 18 rule 2 (1) of the courts (High Court) (Civil Procedures) Rules 2017.
The electoral body wants the Supreme Court to reverse the High Court’s decision in proceeding with the case on the basis that the petitions, initially filed separately but later consolidated by the court, were filed fraudulently, out of time and without sworn statements.