POST Newspapers Limited owes the Government more than K8 billion (unrebased)in taxes.
The Newspaper apparently stopped meeting its tax obligations soon after the PF formed government in 2011 and Julius Komaki says the newspaper had been singing praises for President Michael Sata even when they did not believe in his vision because the owner of the newspaper, Fred M’membe was seeking favours from the Head of State.
Efforts to get a comment from Mr M’membe failed as his mobile phone went unanswered.
A text message sent to him asking if it was true that the Post Newspaper owed ZRA more than K8 million rebased and whether it was true that he had stopped meeting his tax obligation soon after the PF formed government was not responded to.
But the amount, sources have disclosed is much higher if “missing” records for previous years were to be included in the computation of default.
Now the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) has been challenged to explain why the money has not been collected while people owing less have been harassed and taken to court.
In what he described as grand corruption which must attract the interest of state investigative wings to pursue, Patriotic Front (PF) official Julius Komaki said the deliberate failure by the newspaper to meet its tax obligations was an act of willful disregard for the law.
Mr Komaki has challenged ZRA to inform the nation why they had allowed the Post Newspapers Limited to remain non-compliant in meeting its tax obligations for the last three years.
According to ZRA Taxpayer compliance status report as at 1st September, 2014, Post Newspaper Limited had accumulated a total of more than K8 billion (unrebased) in Income Tax, Pay as You Earn (PAYE) and Value Added Tax (VAT).
According to the Taxpayer status report, the newspaper had remained non-complaint in tax obligations since 2011 and now owes the Zambia Revenue Authority K2,599,525.15 rebased in Income Tax.
The Post Newspaper Limited has remained in default in Pay As You Earn (PAYE) from the time the PF formed government and the amount has accumulated to K1, 390,116.39 rebased.
On Value Added Tax, the newspaper has totally ignored to remit tax a staggering K4, 851,574.33 and the authority has placed the newspaper company in the category of not compliant with returns, submission and payment.
But Mr Komaki said the Post Newspaper had been pontificating righteousness and claiming that they had not benefited anything from government yet the owner took advantage of his relationship with President Sata to breach tax rules with impunity.
Mr Komaki said ZRA must ensure that the money owed by the Post Newspaper was paid back and demanded that the proprietor should be prosecuted for deliberately breaking the tax laws.
“We have always known that the Post Newspaper have been avoiding to pay tax since we formed government.We have all the information about their deliberate failure to meet their tax obligations to a number of statutory bodies. We have information that indicate that the Post Newspapers is owing ZRA more than K8 million and that is a lot of money that can do many things to the economy of our country. We now want ZRA to vigorously pursue the Post Newspaper so that they can pay so that the money can get into government coffers. They have been claiming that they have not benefited anything from the PF government and President Sata when there have been lapses in paying tax,” Mr Komaki said.
He said it was a crime for a taxpayer not to be compliant and appealed to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to investigate the newspaper as there was a possibility that the newspaper could have been deliberately avoiding its obligations. He said the Post Newspaper was abusing President Sata’s government by alleging that most of the ministers surrounding the Head of State were crooks, corrupt and tribal while attempting to rebrand and repackage Mr Kabimba.
“The Post is holding on to government money and to me that is tantamount to looting and I am wondering why ZRA has remained quiet while struggling to meet their tax collection targets. We cannot allow this to continue because that is causing anarchy in the economy. They have been mourning and weeping since President Sata fired Mr Kabimba and we have all the reasons to believe that they must have lost something bigger than the former secretary general,” Mr Komaki said.