The High Court in Blantyre has referred a matter to a Constitutional Court where a suspect accused of illegal possession of foreign currency and money laundering is challenging constitutionality of such charges.
The applicant, Moinuddian Mohammed Iqbar Sodogar, also wants Control Exchange Regulations Act declared unconstitutional.
Sodogar was on December 7 2016 arrested at Kamuzu International Airport in Lilongwe when he was found in possession of over $622 000 (about K456 527 060 at current exchange rate), 15 860 euros (about K13 829 920) and 2 015 British pounds (about K1 954 550) believed to be proceeds of a crime.
The possession of foreign currency is contrary to Regulation 25 of the Exchange Control Regulations as read with section 3 of the Exchange Control Act (Cap. 45:01 of the Laws of Malawi.
Sodogar also faced a charge of attempting to illegally transfer foreign currency out of the country contrary to Regulation 11(1) of the Exchange Control Regulations as read with section J of the Exchange Control Act (Cap. 45:01 of the Laws of Malawi).
According to particulars of the case, Sodagar on December 30 2016 at Kamuzu International Airport also allegedly attempted to transfer out of Malawi 15 pieces of bullion weighing 13.747 kilogrammes worth K371 938 694.53 without the permission of the Minister of Finance or that of the Reserve Bank of Malawi
After hearing the application to have the matter go to the Constitutional Court, judge Kenyatta Nyirenda ruled that he was satisfied and proceeded to determine that the matter was constitutional in nature and referred it to the Chief Justice for certification.
Wapona Kita, lawyer for the applicant, told the court earlier that it was only the Constitutional Court which can determine the constitutionality of any law or act of Government.