Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) officials accompanied by armed police officers on Friday raided offices of the government-hired valuer of the estate of former president the late Bingu wa Mutharika, and went away with computers and files after a six-hour search, it has been reported.
Yeremiah Chihana,, proprietor of YMW Property Investment in Lilongwe, said officials from the public tax collector took two files, a desktop computer and a laptop computer containing information about the Bingu estate, The Nation reported on Tuesday.
The search started around 3.30pm and ended at 9.30pm and that the MRA wanted the Bingu files, according to Chihana.
MRA officials, who were five in number, produced a search warrant obtained from the Blantyre Magistrate’s Court which Chihana signed, the paper reported.
Chihana is said to have identified three of the officials through their business cards as Gerald Ngondoma, Christopher Chidammodzi and a Mrs. Mumba.
“They [MRA officials] said they wanted the Bingu estate files, but when I told them that they [files] are also available at the Registrar’s and Attorney General [AG] offices, they said they wanted to find out whether I paid tax on the fees I collected for carrying out a valuation exercise of the estate,” the paper quoted Chihana.
Chihana, who was engaged by the administration of former president Joyce Banda to evaluate Bingu’s estate in 2012, said he was not worried with the seizure of the computers, saying: “I did not receive any payment for the work I did; hence, no need to pay tax. If that is the only reason they have taken the computers, then my conscience is clear.”
According to Chihana, he got K42 million for operational expenses out of which K22 million was given to the Mutharika family.
He said: “The exercise needed extensive travels; hence, we needed the money. But for the payment of the work, I got nothing.”
Chihana valued his Bingu estate at K61 billion and said the wealth of the estate is expected to go beyond K61 billion (about $152m) after full assessment.
The assessment was disputed by the Mutharika family as an exaggeration.
Chihana said Mutharika had houses in Singapore and some property in the United States of America (USA) which he did not include in his initial assessment.
Bingu wa Mutharika died of cardiac arrest on April 5, 2012.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :