Wanangwa Hara is an expert in commercial law and tax legal services that address the challenges of commerce and business operations. He has extensive experience in tax and commercial law transactions, legal due diligence and dispute resolution
Wanangwa Hara is the Managing Partner of Ritz Attorneys at Law positioning it to help clients with legal needs in Malawi and across the globe. He is proud to be at the helm of this dynamic, innovative and leading law firm. He is responsible for the daily management of the firm: overseeing people, practices, clients, developing and implementing policies and strategies for the firm’s competitive advantage.
He was previously a Partner in the firm from 2016 to 2021during which time the firm grew from a sole proprietorship to a partnership. He has overseen the growth of the firm's leading disputes practice and contributed to the rapid expansion of its international transactional practice from 2020. He led the firm’s first strategic international alliance with Alliott Global Alliance and contributed to facilitate the firm’s first informal cooperation with its best friend firm DLA Piper. He has also been instrumental in getting the firm to be recognized by the Africa Legal Awards. Wanangwa’s focus remains on ensuring the growth of the firm’s resources, capabilities and competency to meet its diverse clients’ needs with a global outlook.
Wanangwa’s expertise largely in commercial law and tax legal services which is demonstrated by his training above and his actual hands-on skillset as below:
(International) Legal transactions and advisory services
Part of the team of local consultants for a multinational law firm in ongoing class litigation before the England and Wales High Court in Josiya & 7262 others vs British American Tobacco Plc, Imperial Brands Plc & Ors  Ewhc 1743 where about 7,263 Malawian tobacco farmers, comprising 4,066 adults and 3,197 children, claim damages against certain companies in the British American Tobacco Group and certain companies in the Imperial Tobacco Group for negligence and/or conversion (of the tobacco leaves) and/or unjust enrichment. The claims in tort and unjust enrichment are said to arise from the unlawful, exploitative and dangerous conditions in which the claimants produced tobacco leaves on the tobacco farms include the widespread use of unlawful child labour and unlawful forced labour.
Advising an international client on the implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and the steps that the executive or legislator bodies of Malawi will need to take to adopt and domesticate the FCTC. His specific role was domestic and customs taxation of tobacco products including cigarettes, pipe tobacco and roll your own tobacco manufactured in Malawi or imported into Malawi.
Advised a Client in USA on the tax component diligence, litigation risk and property checks on instructions related to the issue and sale of carbon credits in voluntary carbon credits schemes and voluntary carbon markets compliant with the International Carbon Reduction & Offset Alliance (ICROA) best practices.
Advising a company based in Norway, on registration and the regulatory requirements for setting up a Company limited by guarantee and/or a foreign company in Malawi including the regulatory framework and operational requirements. Acting as first company secretary.
Advising an INGO based in Norway on Registration of an INGO, Congoma Registration, Registration of company, operations in Malawi and the regulatory framework and activities including employment law and taxation and special provisions applicable to NGOs and Charities under the Taxation Act and the Non-Governmental Organisations Act. Providing company secretary services.
Advised and conducted legal due diligence for a multinational company with presence in Europe, Middle East and Africa on hiring independent contractors, limits of using independent contractors and rights of independent contractors, misclassifications risks, the regulatory framework and strategies companies use to manage independent contractor compliance and choice of law provisions.
Provided a legal advisory note to a client in UK that intended to provide an inventory or commodity finance facility to a United Arab Emirates entity. The purpose of the facility was for the UAE entity to finance the inventory purchase of pulse, fertilizer and soy beans in Malawi. The Facility would inturn be guaranteed by the Malawian entity and UAE Entity. The inventory would be collateral under the Personal Property Securities Act. Advised on formalities required to create the security instrument, registration and costs.
In the preparatory stages of advising and providing legal due diligence to a technology group currently operating in the financial services sector backed by British-Malawian investors on a project that involves establishing regulated operations in the financial sector in Malawi, establishment of a bank and deployment of $100m investment in Malawi.
Advised Anglican Diocese of Upper Shire (ADUS) on Solar Farm Project with Gigawatt Global and Interfaith Centre for Sustainable Development. Lead Legal advisor and representative for the Diocese, and its institutions including St Martins Hospital, St Lukes Mission Hospital and St Lukes College of Nursing & Midwifery in their operations and compliance.
Advised a Malawi’s major player in offset printing on strategy for changing the workforce due to reduced operational requirements and the tax implications on the employees and expatriates to be made redundant and the company’s financial obligations under the employment law and relevant tax law.
Legal advisor and litigation lawyer for the following insurance companies in Malawi’s insurance sector.
• Britam Insurance Company Ltd
• Liberty Insurance Company Ltd
• ]General Alliance Insurance Company Ltd
• Formally represented Prime Insurance Company Ltd in property, occupational and motor vehicle insurance matters with various clients and defending litigation and personal injury claims.
• Currently on the list of lawyers for Nico Holdings Plc and subsidiaries in the category of debt collection.
Audit Firms-Due diligence/Litigaton
Represented and collaborated with audit firms including Ernest & Young PWC and Audit Consult in conducting legal due diligence. Advising and providing dispute resolution services.
Legal advisor on a number of commercial transactions and dispute resolution lawyer for Illovo Sugar (Malawi) Plc.
Tax Litigation and advisory litigation services for YMW Property Investment Ltd vs Malawi Revenue Authority
for a tax liability of MK1, 348, 108, 971. 61. Matter stems from valuation works for the Board of Estate Duty Commissioners regarding the Estate of the late former President Dr. Bingu wa Mutharika. The expected estimated income was MK2, 295, 492, 951. 09 which was not received. MRA approximated corporate tax due at MK275, 459, 154. 13; VAT liability at MK378, 756, 336. 93 and withholding tax at MK67, 379, 880. 96 as PAYE.
Tax Litigation and advisory litigation services for Mulli Brothers Limited
Evaluated the assessed tevet levy as assessed by MRA, considered the MOU applicable and between MRA and the Tevet Authority, obtained a stay of summary recovery of levy and negotiated and settled matter with MRA based on tax credits. MRA obtained certificate for summary recovery of levy against Mulli Brothers Holdings Limited and all its subsidiaries including National Bus Company Ltd, Chombe Foods Ltd, Chitakale Estate Limited, Celcom Limited and Mulli Brothers Limited. Obtained an Order for stay/suspension of execution of the Certificate/Judgement for Summary recovery of tevet-levy obtained by MRA. Achieved a settlement with MRA by evaluating the balance on the levy for each subsidiary company with a view to offset the same from a subsisting tax credit at a credit balance of MK308, 189, 105. 43.
GLP Investments v the Commissioner General of the Malawi Revenue Authority
Reviewed VAT and Income Tax assessment. Conducted appeals and negotiations to pay tax liability by instalments and contested an assessment of Income and Sales Taxes due in the sum of MK 317, 921, 107.79
Civil Cause No. 2067 of 2018: Faizal Latiff T/A Mapeto Wholesalers vs Malawi Revenue Authority
The matter concerned 141 consignments of pneumatic tyres that were seized by MRA and failure to release exchange control documents for under declaration leading to loss of business. We negotiated for the release of the pneaumatic tyres considering that there was proper declaration as the consignments of the tyres were declared according to their transaction value from Hong Kong Polychem Company Ltd in China. The consignments were released. Nonetheless, proceedings were commenced for loss of business and for the withholding of exchange control documents as client was unable to resale the consignments of tyres and to remit proceeds to the supplier who was charging interest and penalties.
Meridian Group of Companies [MGC] [Malawi]
Advising subsidiaries of MGC in Malawi including but not limited to Farmers World Limited, Demeter Seed Limited, Grain Securities Limited, and Agora Limited on all their corporate and commercial activities since 2017. 2 years ago advised on an M & A objection to the take-over by the Meridian Group of all the companies cited above in terms of the procedural rules of the COMESA Competition Commission.
Judicial Review Number 11 Of 2019: The State (on Application Of British American Tobacco Malawi Limited Vs MRA and others
:Rendering a second opinion and discussions on exhaustion of domestic remedies before bringing a matter to the Comesa Court. The dispute relate to the enforcement of surcharge tariff of USD5 per 1000 sticks on imported cigarettes from COMESA and SADC member states imposed under the Customs and Excise (Tariffs) (Amendment) Order, 2019 wherein BAT prayed for a declaration that the surcharge tariff and the Customs & Excise (Tariffs) (Amendment) Order, 2019 violate the COMESA Treaty, SADC Protocol on Trade, GATT 1994 and WTO Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures [SMC] and therefore, contrary to Section 211 of Malawi’s Constitution.
Bushman’s Boababs Lodge Vs Malawi Revenue Authority
Following a tax audit, MRA raised a Value Added Tax Assessment for the sum of MK94, 528, 815. 00. We evaluated the matter and established that our client was only registered in 2013. A Certificate for Registration for Value Added Tax was only given that period. We objected and appealed for a reversal of the Value Added Tax Assessment to start from 2013. We further prayed for suspension of enforcement measures. MRA accepted our appeal and the tax liability was reduced to around MK7, 234, 733. 68.
Arbitration Case Number 443 of 2019: Joyce Banda Foundation vs Malawi Revenue Authority
Provided an evaluation of the estimated income tax and Paye under the Taxation Act. Objected to assessment of interest/penalties. Negotiated and appealed to the Commissioner General on waiver of interest and penalties under the doctrine of satisfactory explanation. Suspended garnishment or enforcement measures. Appealed before the Court sitting as Special Arbitrator under the Taxation Act and Procedures. The matter concerned distrain against our client’s for paye, income tax and Penalties/Interest. We evaluated the file and applied for a waiver of the said Penalties/interest and to pay the principal tax due by instalments as the non-remittance of the tax liability (PAYE and Income Tax) was not deliberate but as a result of theft and fraud. This was a satisfactory explanation for waiver of penalties under the Taxation Act and VAT Act. The matter was appealed to the Commissioner General for MRA and later to the Court sitting as a Special Arbitrator. The Court stayed any enforcement measures until the appeal is considered.
Judicial Review Case Number 09 Of 2018: The Registered Trustees of Anglican Council in Malawi (St Lukes Mission Hospital) vs The Commissioner General for Malawi Revenue Authority
Provided legal research, advisory, litigation and settlement of the matter with the CG under section 161 of the Customs & Excise Act.MRA seized Motor vehicles for non-payment of duty.We approached the Court for Judicial review of the decision to seize the property and the administrative process involved in assessment following the provisions of the Customs & Excise Act, legitimate expectations, natural justice and Kyoto Convention. The High Court granted a stay of seizure and released the vehicle. Following the release, we guided the client in settlement and the vehicle was re-assessed for duty purposes under Article 3(3) of the World Trade Agreement (WTO) on Implementation of Article VII of the General Agreement on Tariff and Trade (GATT) 1994. Duty was reduced and based on our recommended ZAR160, 000. 00.
Judicial Review Case Number 8 of 2018: Jameer Shaibu vs the Commissioner General Malawi Revenue Authority and Criminal Case Number 922 OF 2018: The State vs Jameel Shaibu
Client was a frequent importer of modern Motor vehicles to Malawi. MRA seized one of our client’s imported Motor vehicles on the ground that the MRA required clearance documents for other 16 vehicles that our Client had previously imported. MRA thought of exercising a lien over the vehicle under the Customs & Excise Act to recover duty over the 16 vehicles approximately over USD200, 000. 00. We challenged the decision as the seizure of the vehicles was against the Customs & Excise Act and the Kyoto Convention on release of seized good subject to customs control. The Court agreed and released the vehicle and dismissed the claim for clearance of other vehicles.
Various other cases for individuals, firms, traders, SMEs on customs, importation, valuation, objections, appeals, judicial reviews, release of goods before MRA, Tax tribunals, High Court (Revenue Division) and the Supreme Court of Appeal.
Commercial and finance Litigation
o Litigation lawyer and advisory for Transglobe Produce Export Limited in commercial, banking and contractual disputes from 2015. Recently represented Transglobe in defending a claim for the sum of MK855, 652, 698. 0 and interest thereon by then Nedbank Malawi Ltd. Litigated and facilitated debt restructuring and payment of MK20, 000, 000. 00.
o FDH Bank PLC, FDH Financial Holdings Ltd: Rendering dispute resolution to the bank’s matters in financial services, securities, employment, mergers and acquisitions, white collar crime and a wide spectrum of disputes from 2015 todate. Recently, defended a claim for unlawful realisation of security by some cotton ginners valued over MK1.5 billion. Litigated and facilitated a compromise settlement in favour of the Bank.
o Litigation lawyer and advisory for Midima Holdings Ltd an agent for Techfab International Company Ltd, a multinational company, in its claim for $ 905,598.19 for their role in winning a contract with EGENCO to design, build, supply, deliver and install diesel power generation plants in Lilongwe and Blantyre within Malawi. Obtained a freezing injunction for the claimed sum and commenced arbitral proceedings under the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Arbitration Rules.
o Litigation lawyer and advisory for PricewaterhousecoopersAdvisory Services Limited (PWC). In 2020, successfully defended claims for the sum of USD250, 000. 00 as commenced by NBS Bank Plc with costs to PWC. The matter concerned negligence issues raised by a third party in the acquisition of 100 per cent shareholding in Group Developments Limited and its subsidiaries by Gillanders Arbuthnot and Company Limited where PWC was a receiver.
o Litigation Lawyer and advisor for NR Electric Co. Ltd, a Chinese multinational company in procurement, construction contracts, commercial transactions, energy and litigation in commercial and contractual disputes. Successfully represented the multinational company in defending a claim for over MK100 Million arising from their construction of a solar power in Likoma and Chizumulu Island. https://www.nrec.com/en/.
o Litigation Lawyer and advisor for a Chinese company NT Plastics Limited, Nantong Group of Companies in its manufacturing, contractual, torts and criminal prosecutions.
o Lead advisor and litigation lawyer for Mitra Systems, a well positioned firm specializing in planning, supply, installation, on-site support and after sales warranty support for all IBM hardware infrastructure including core skills and references for complex server and storage solutions. It is authorised by IBM to provide IBM Warranty Services and IBM Installation Services on behalf of IBM. Recently represented Mitra in the public procurement dispute involving the Reserve Bank of Malawi and the Review Committee of the Public Procurement Asset Disposal Committee and another firm regarding the procurement for the supply and delivery of ICT Hardware for Flexicube Upgrade and Hardware for Automated Transfer System (ATS) valued over MK2 billion. https://www.mitra.mw/about-us.php.
o Legal advisor and litigation lawyer for Godka Technologies Limited a company specializing in ICT hardware, software, graphic designs, custom developed apps, business solutions, office consumables, networks (LAN & WAN) , consultancy services, telecommunications, CCTV, and electricals for your personal, small, medium and enterprise level needs. https://www.godkatech.com/.
o Litigation Lawyer and advisor for Rab Processors Ltd or the Rab Group and its subsidiaries including Kulima Gold Ltd and A1 Investments Ltd in all commercial, insurance, corporate and contractual matters. Rab Processors is a leading player in the agriculture industry in Malawi and specialises in trading of locally grown produce.
o Litigation lawyer and advisor for MBL Holdings Limited and all its subsidiaries including but not limited Mulli Brothers Limited, Celcom Limited, National Bus Company Limited, Smallholder Tea Company Limited, Chombe Foods Limited, Web Commercial Limited.
Recently defending claims by Reserve Bank of Malawi against Mulli brothers Ltd and Web Commercials Ltd before the High Court, Commercial Division for over MK4 Billion arising from letters of credits with Trade Development Bank before the Commercial Division of the High Court of Malawi.
Recently represented National Bus Company Ltd to secure its courier licence with Macra following its withdrawal for non-payment of licence fees.
Representing Mulli Brothers Ltd and Web Commercials Ltd in a public procurement dispute involving the failure to award the subsidiaries contracts under the Affordable Input Program worth over MK5 billion.
Representing Mulli Brothers Limited in a claim for negligence of over MK1 Billion for defamation, misrepresentations and negligence against Delloitte for its forensic audit report issued to the Reserve Bank of Malawi on the bank’s payments.
Provided legal advise and litigation for Chombe Foods Limited. Recently succeeded in proving debt with assistance of an independent evaluation by Graham Carr against Peoples Trading Centre Ltd. Furthermore, succeeded in ensuring exportation of free flow iodised refined table salt packing 500grs and 1kgs in branded chombe salt bag from india without payment of GST as an overseas buyer against Arrows Exports in India. Facilitated loading and importation of the salt with Atlas Shipping Lines of Mediterranean Shipping Company
o Litigation Lawyer and advisor for HMS Foods and Grains Limited a company established in 1991 and a major player in the commodity and processing markets in Malawi such as maize milling plant and subsequently expanded into lentils (Pigeon Peas), Rice Milling, Soap Manufacturing and Wheat Milling. Recently succeeded on a summary judgement against Peoples Trading Centre Ltd and secured a company guarantee to the indebtedness of PTC by Press Corpolation Plc. http://hmsmalawi.net/about-us/.
o Provide litigation and advisory services to Victoria Forex Bureau Ltd in a matter against Reserve Bank of Malawi for damages exceeding USD1.5 Million in loss of business and loss of foreign currency occasioned by closure of the bureau between 2009 and 2013 despite Court Orders in favour of opening the bureau. https://victoriaforex.mw/.
Providing litigation and advisory services for the following other clients in different sectors of Malawi’s economy:
• Mybucks Banking Corporation Ltd
• Agrosack Industries Ltd
• Anchor Industries Ltd
• Zambia Cooperative Federation
• Joyce Banda Foundation
• Fattani Offset Printers
• Commercial law
• Tax law
• Member, Malawi Law Society 2015
• International Bar Association (IBA), 2021
Prior and Present Employment
• Managing Partner, Ritz Attorneys at Law [2022 to date]
• Equity Partner, Ritz Attorneys at Law [2015 to date]
• Wanangwa has a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) Degree by the University of Malawi, 2014. ,
• As a business leader, he is an Executive-MBA candidate at the University of Bolton expanding his expertise in Strategic Management, Leadership and Management, International Marketing Management, Financial Management and Decision Making, Change Management, Human Resource Management and Project Management.
• Certificate: Law firm culture: its impact on revenue, recruitment and retention, International Bar Association, London, September 2020
• Certificate: Legal Aspects of Syndicated Loan Financing Transactions, University of Cape town, RSA, June 2021
• Certificate: Commercial Loan Financing, University of Capetow, RSA, April 2022
• Certificate: Lessons on trial and advocacy, MLS 2021
• Certificate: Professional Ethics and Discipline, MLS 2021
• Certificate: The financial services sector insights into law and practice, MLS, 2021