ZRA continues Post search

THE Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) today returns to the Post Newspaper to continue with its investigation of tax evasion.

Last week, ZRA pounced on the Post Newspaper and collected documents to conduct the investigation but the Post applied and obtained a court order for the return of documents.

The order however, allowed ZRA to continue with the search because the order was not a stay against the tax agency from carrying out its investigations on the newspaper’s tax cheating. That is why we are going back.” the source said

The ZRA pounced on the Post Newspaper to conduct a search after the tax agency received information to the effect that the newspaper was engaging in tax malpractices.

A mountain of debts owed by the Paper estimated at K72, 905,000, according to PACRA records and a recent attempt by Post Newspaper owner Fred M’membe to transfer assets out of the company beyond the reach of the ZRA had caused anxiety to tax authorities and banks.

According to PACRA Records the amounts are owed from Investrust Bank Limited, Intermarket Bank and Zanaco.

The Post Newspaper according to court papers had failed to pay taxes for some years largely remaining non-compliant. The newspaper was threatened with the seizure of its properties and commenced paying.

The authorities are however  frustrated that the Post which is said to have enjoyed a K16 million ZRA debt write-off during President Michael Sata’s reign in unexplained circumstances had continued to be non-compliant. It was revealed recently that M’membe tried to transfer its core assets held under the Post Courier Service – a transport fleet division – to a newly formed company Makumya Limited in which he and his daughter Akende M’membe are shareholders.

ZRA however blocked Mr. M’membe’s intentions to transfer the assets of Post Courier to Makumya Limited because the newspaper transport fleet was part of the assets ZRA could seize should the Post Newspaper fail to discharge its liability over the tax arrears.

Last year Officers from the Zambia Revenue Authority raided the newspaper and served it with a K6, 954, 911.75 warrant of distress.

And the Post Newspaper has accused State House of using the ZRA in an attempt to fix the publication which is now critical of the PF administration.

Earlier the paper had been taken to task over a K31 million debt unpaid taxes but the Post obtained court orders that stopped the process and the matter is now in court.