Interim administrators of the estate of former president the late Bingu wa Mutharika say they want to appoint new professional valuers to determine its wealth for estate duty purposes of assets.
In earnest, the move could throw away the initial K61 billion as valued by government-hired valuer, Yeremia Chihana.
Documents of a discussion towards an agreement between interim administrators of the late Mutharika estate and Estate Duty Commissioners seen by The Nation indicate that in the event that the two parties (interim administrators and Estate Duty Commissioners) do not agree on a valuer, the parties shall appoint the president of the Malawi Law Society to nominate a valuer from a list submitted by both parties.
The family of the late Mutharika has queried the letters of administration and the assessor, Chihana, who assessed Mutharika’s estate currently valued at K61 billion.
Government through the Estate Duty Commissioners is claiming a K5 billion estate duty cut from Mutharika’s estate.
Yesterday, government lawyers refused to comment on the appointment of a new valuer which, when effected, may nullify Chihana’s assessment.
The new valuer’s assessment may also determine how much the Mutharika estate will pay government as estate duty.
The agreement on the undertaking by interim administrators to pay estate duty adds that the parties shall refer all disputes relating to the composition or value of the estate to the High Court.
In the undertaking, lawyers Kalekeni Kaphale and James Tomoka, as intended administrators, want to secure the letters of administration to the estate, call in the estate and pay all proper and lawful outgoings, including all just debts and liabilities requiring discharge on behalf of the estate.
Kaphale and Tomoka have also promised the Estate Duty Commissioners to determine a provisional value of the estate of administration and pay estate duty based on such provisional valuation within 30 days of the grant of letters of administration “save that circumstances do not permit to report the reasons for failure to do to the commissioners.”
The interim administrators of the Mutharika estate have also undertaken to submit monthly reports regarding the calling in and the outgoings due for payment and make such further payments towards estate duty; and to expeditiously pay from the assets of the estate all estate duty that shall be lawfully payable in respect of the estate.
The administrators of Mutharika estate, Kaphale and Modecai Msisha representing Mutharika’s daughters—Duwa and Tapiwa; and, James Tomoka, for former first lady Callista, have asked the High Court in Blantyre to unfreeze bank accounts, arguing the decision has put operations and maintenance of the estate and related trusts in jeopardy.