Lawyers for the embattled Mapeto David White Head and Sons (MDWS) Directors in the tax invasion case have angered Malawians on the social media for playing hide and seek with country’s justice system.
The development follows a request by the defence lawyers to refer the high profile criminal case to the constitution court, a development cross Malawians has described as an attempt to delay the case.
Among others, the defence wants the Constitutional Court to determine (i) whether evidence extracted and/or recovered from computers pursuant to Section 88(3) of the Taxation Act, Section 56 of the Value Added Tax Act and Section 15(1) of the Customs and Excise Act was in strict compliance with Section 21 of the Constitution of Republic of Malawi, and (ii) whether the whole process of extracting and/ or recovering the evidence from computers was in compliance with the applicants’ rights to privacy.
However, some Malawians on the social media have described the pleas as an attempt by the defence lawyers to rape Malawi’s justice system.
“This is a pure criminal case, why referring it to the constitution court,” wonders a social media user.
A legal scholar from University of Malawi (UNIMA), who opted for anonymity, has since pleaded with the court to cast a blind eye on the case. He said court should not be used as playground for criminals.
Fizal Latif Gaffar, who is Managing Director at MDWS, a Director Gaffar Latif Zarina Mohammed as well as Gaffar and Muhammed Yaseen, who are proprietors of Star Style Investments, were arrested in September by the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) for invading tax amounting to MK 16.5 billion.
Chief resident magistrate (South) Jean Kayira on Friday, February 11, 2022 disclosed that the full trial will start on March 28 and is expected to end on April 1 2022 where the State is expected to continue parading its witnesses.
Kayira’s directions follow the High Court of Malawi Judge Vikochi Chima’s decision on January 18, 2022 to lift an injunction which Mapeto DWS executives obtained in September last year.
The accused persons through their lawyers stopped Kayira from continuing hearing the case pending a review.