The Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal has dismissed an application by Mapeto Tyres director Faizal Abdul Gaffar seeking an injunction to allow release of stock which Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) impounded in 2021.
In the application, Gaffar wanted the court to grant an injunction to force MRA to release the stock, including tyres the authority confiscated as part of its ongoing investigations and that he should be allowed to operate his business.
He argued that if the stock is not released, his business would suffer irreparable and unjustifiable damage.
Gaffar further observed that if MRA is to pay for the damage, it would be inappropriate and Malawian taxpayers would be the ones to suffer by paying for the damage when it was avoidable.
But in a ruling dated July 26 2023, Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal Judge Lovemore Chikopa dismissed the application.
He noted that the application did not state which law it was based on.
Reads the ruling in part: “More than that the application does not provide the context in which it is brought. This is an appellant court.
“The application therefore should have been brought as an appeal or in furtherance or in the context of one. Not as a stand-alone. It is accordingly dismissed with cost.”
The ruling came a day before High Judge Joseph Chigona dismissed another application and all preliminary objections raised by Mapeto David Whitehead and Sons and two MRA customs officers in the K16.5 billion tax evasion case.
The accused asked the court to refer their matter to Chief Justice Rizine Mzikamanda for certification as a constitutional issue.
Among others, they argued that the evidence that MRA extracted from computers it confiscated from the accused persons raises a number of constitutional questions, which they said needed the Constitutional Court’s interpretation.
They also raised a number of objections on the amended charge sheet. Among others, they argued that they are answering charges under Financial Crimes Act of 2017, which they believe is not applicable in their case, saying the alleged offence was committed from 2012 before the introduction of the Act.
However, delivering the ruling, High Court Judge Joseph Chigona noted that the application for certification of the matter and all the objections, which were about 10, lacked merit and, therefore, dismissed them all in their entirety.
He observed that the matter at hand does not raise any constitutional issue and the question of certification was already raised in the subordinate court and that it is an abuse of court process.
On May 23 2021, MRA pounced on Mapeto DWS Limited and senior executives for multiple cases of alleged tax evasion that was estimated at K10.8 billion before it was revised to K16.5 billion.