THE Post newspaper should never be opened until they pay or enter into consent to pay what it owes Zambians because its proprietor is a habitual tax defaulter, US-based political analyst Petros Mulenga has said.
And the Zambia Republican Party (ZRP) has challenged the Revenue Appeals Tribunal to come out clean on the ex-parte order that it allegedly gave to The Post newspaper over its debt before Zambians could conclude that it was pressurised by external forces.
Mr. Mulenga said demonising Governmnet over a legally correct step taken by the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) over The Post’s failure to settle the debt was wrong, adding that the paper’s portrayal of its predicament as Government’s infringement of press freedom was a misinterpretation of the facts.
He said it was surprising that some people had fallen in the pit of The Post’s lies and machinations and were sympathising with the tabloid without realising the legal implications of evading tax, adding that the paper’s debt had been in public domain for a long time.
He accused Editor-in-chief Fred M’membe of hoodwinking the UPND and manipulating it to start sympathising with him because he hoped that if the party won the elections, the paper would get away with the debt.
He said before 2016, M’membe and The Post kept denouncing UPND as a tribal party, but he recently suddenly began writing favourably about them. No matter how much he tried to pretend, Zambians knew why Mr Hichilema was coming to The Post’s defence.
“He avoids paying taxes while he wines and dines in his lavish mansion and drives expensive cars. The ZRA tax issue is not a new matter. The Post has been in and out of court and has fought running battles with ZRA over payment of taxes for many months. M’membe has lost any moral authority to comment on corruption or morality because his hands are not clean,” he said.
“Does M’membe think we are little children to believe that the PF suddenly became corrupt in one day after Mr Lungu took over as president?” asked Mr. Mulenga.
And ZRP president Wright Musoma said the public was still waiting to hear from Revenue Appeals Tribunal over the ex-parte order that it allegedly gave to The Post newspaper over its debt.
He said the tribunal should tell the nation whether it was the one that issued the document or not and if it was the one, it owed Zambians and explanation on which grounds the document was issued and why.