Mapeto directors ask magistrate to recuse herself in K16.5 billion tax evasion case

Directors of Mapeto David Whitehead and Sons Limited want Chief Resident Magistrate Jean Kayira to recuse herself from the K16.5 billion tax evasion case.

The accused persons say Kayira cannot continue to hear the case because she has been promoted to the position of High Court judge.

Kayira is one of the seven people recently appointed as High Court Judges by President Lazarus Chakwera but they are yet to be sworn in.

In court today, lawyers for Mapeto directors Fostino Mayere and Gift Mwakhwawa argued that many legal issues would be created if Kayira continues to hear the case which is before a Magistrate’s Court.

According to the lawyers, it is against the law for a matter in subordinate court to be heard by a High Court Judge.

However, the state through Director of Public Prosecutions Dr. Steven Kayuni argued that Kayira is free to continue hearing the case as she is a newly appointed judge.

Kayira is expected to make a ruling on the issue on Wednesday, March 30.

Mapeto DWS officials on trial are director Faizal Gaffar Latif, managing director Muhammed Gaffar, financial controller Abdul Rashid Bakali, procurement manager Yaseen Muhammad and general manager Martin Mpata.

They were arrested in May last year after Malawi Revenue Authority found that the company was selling its products, but not fully declaring the sales to MRA which had a direct and negative impact on the revenues the company was remitting to MRA with regards to Value Added Tax as well as income tax.