M’membe’s New K8 Billion ZRA Debt Brought to Light

Fred M’membe’s patronage of President Michael Sata has landed The Post Newspaper owner, a self styled moralist, at odd with some Patriotic Front loyalist who are taking the fight to expose underhand deals.

M’membe has recently stood on a podium of clean business claiming he never sought favours from President Sata. The once respected Zambian journalist has come at odds with members of the ruling party many of whom he is calling “corrupt and tribalistic clique”.

This followed the dismissal of his friend Wynter Kabimba from key party secretary general position and justice minister. M’membe, belonging to what had come to be known as the cartel, was propping Kabimba to take over from President Sata whose health has deteriorated and poses a threat to the incumbent’s 2016 presidential ambition.

In several editorials published recently lamenting the dismissal of Kabimba, M’membe has pontificated himself as a self righteous businessman who never depended on political connections to survive.

This is despite a background that he has covertly used the noble journalism profession to insulate some of his dirtiest business deal and has more often summoned group and donor support in the name of media media fight a government that did not secretly yield to his demands.

The battlefront in the PF has reached top gear with those opposed to M’membe’s continued tricks of manipulating President Sata exposing his ZRA debt.

PF official Julius Komaki, credited for leading one of the bloodiest intra party battle to flush Kabimba out, has brought to light that M’membe has accumulated a fresh K8 billion debt at ZRA where his Post Newspaper has been discredited and classified as non-complaint in addition to the K14 billion DBZ debt and previous more than K21 billion owed under Rupiah Banda’s government.

Komaki says The Post apparently stopped meeting its tax obligations soon after the PF formed government in 2011.

He the newspaper had been singing praises for President Sata even when they did not believe in his vision because M’membe was seeking favours from the Head of State.

Komaki has since 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.

Komaki said the Post Newspaper had been pontificating righteousness and claiming that they had not benefited anything from government yet the owner took aantage of his relationship with President Sata to breach tax rules with impunity.

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,” said Komaki.

Source : Zambia Reports

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