The High Court in Blantyre yesterday gave outspoken politician Kamlepo Kalua a temporal relief from an imminent arrest in connection with his alleged tax evasion.
The court further ordered the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) and Malawi Police Service to release the three vehicles belonging to Kalua and his son which were seized by the two State agencies.
MRA officers accompanied by armed police last Wednesday raided the house of the Rumphi East member of Parliament (MP) and also of his son Penjani where they seized his Mercedes Benz and a Toyota V8 belonging to the son on allegations that they were smuggled into the country.
A day later, the police went back to Kalua’s house with their own search warrant and towed a grounded Jeep belonging to the MP on allegations that it was stolen.
Lawyer representing Kamlepo, who is also third vice-president of the opposition People’s Party (PP), Wanangwa Hara, confirmed yesterday that Judge Rowland Mbvundula had granted relief to the parliamentarian.
Hara said after the police obtained their own search warrant for the same vehicles seized by MRA, they moved to the High Court because they thought the search and seizing of the motor vehicles was unwarranted.
He explained that after MRA obtained a search warrant from the magistrate’s court, the same court lifted it after Kalua produced MRA letters showing that the authority approved entry of the vehicles on duty-free status.
“We thought there was no legal justification for police or MRA to be plotting to search the houses concerning the motor vehicles that were cleared a long time ago on a duty-free status by MRA itself,” he said.
“So, we launched an application to the High Court as a matter of extreme urgency because we were reliably informed an arrest for honourable Kalua was eminent over this long weekend.
“We moved the court with a certificate of extreme urgency for judicial review for the decision of the Inspector General of Police and commissioner general of MRA and their officers so today Judge Rowland Mbvundula has granted an order that the decisions by the two State institutions in respect of this matter should be amenable for review,” Hara said.
However, in an interview National Police spokesperson James Kadadzera said he was not aware of any warrant of arrest against Kamlepo.
“I am not aware [of the arrest warrant], let me find out,” said Kadzera.
In an interview with The Nation on Friday, Kalua described the raids at his houses and that of his son as political witch-hunting aimed at intimidating and harassing him. n