The High Court in Blantyre yesterday ordered the release of businessperson and politician Yeremia Chihana who Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) in conjunction with the Malawi Police Service (MPS) arrested on Friday for alleged tax evasion.
Chihana, who is managing director of YMW Property Investments Company which valued the estate of former president the late Bingu wa Mutharika, was arrested on Friday in Lilongwe and detained at Lilongwe Police Station.
High Court judge John Chirwa ordered the release of Chihana after his lawyer, Lusungu Gondwe, alleged political interference in his client’s arrest.
According to the warrant of arrest obtained at the Lilongwe Chief Resident Magistrate’s Court, Chihana, among others, is accused of evading value-added tax (VAT) amounting to K378 756 336.93 (US$841 680.75) by issuing invoices to various customers without either charging VAT or failing to remit the same contrary to Section 49 of Value Added Tax Act.
But Gondwe dismissed the charges claiming that they were politically motivated because Chihana was the valuer of Bingu’s estate. Bingu was the elder brother to incumbent President Peter Mutharika.
Earlier this year, MRA had seized computers from Chihana as part of its tax evasion probe.
After his arrest, Chihana was admitted to Masm Medi Clinic in Lilongwe.