ZRA Working Day And Night Till The Post Shuts Down.
THE Supreme Court has upheld an appeal by Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) against a High Court ruling that granted The Post Newspaper a stay which prevented the statutory body from collecting tax liabilities from the company in full.
ZRA appealed to the Supreme Court after The Postcommenced judicial review proceedings challenging the decision of the Commissioner General to reject the newspaper’s proposal to pay its tax liabilities in instalments.
Meanwhile, DR Cosmas Musumali has requested Zambians to stand up and defend The Post from the PF government’s resolve to indefinitely close.
Commenting on a fresh demand of K53 million by the Zambia Revenue Authority, Dr Musumali, the Rainbow Party deputy secretary general, yesterday said the PF government was determined to indefinitely close The Post newspaper and therefore deny Zambians a critical source of news and analyses.
“And the ZRA is the Panga that is being used. This development is essentially a translation of street violence into the revenue collection function,” Dr Musumali said.
“The consequences of such action will reverberate for years to come with huge damage to people’s trust in ZRA as an institution. This action also destroys the little hope and space for press freedom that has been cultivated over the past 25 years.”
“It is time Zambians stood up and fought back. ZRA and the PF government must be stopped today. Waiting for the 11th August to vote them out will not save the newspaper. The whole remaining campaign period will be empty without the critical role The Post continues to play. To the workers, students and peasants of our homeland; do what is necessary – call for a nationwide strike when the gates to your newspaper get closed!” requested Dr Musumali.
On Wednesday, the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) submitted a new notice demanding that The Post pays K53.8 million in various taxes with immediate effect.
But The Post has objected to the demand notice issued by the ZRA finance division, explaining that the company is already challenging the matter with the investigative division of the authority.
According to the new demand notice dated June 15, 2016, ZRA claims that The Post still owes about K36.1 million in income tax, K15.6 million Pay As You Earn, K1.1 million value added tax and K962,600 withholding tax – all together amounting to K53,878,401.60, including penalties and interest.
“Examination of your accounts after investigations shows that on 15/06/2016, a balance of K53,878,401.60 was owing to the government of the Republic of Zambia. This demand is based on the investigations assessment concluded on the 26th of April 2016,” read part of the demand notice signed by Collins Sampa. “Payment of this amount demanded should be made IMMEDIATELY either to your nearest cash office of the above address. If this amount is not paid immediately, debt recovery action will be instituted against you without any further notice.”
However, Post general manager finance Rowena Zulu has objected to the demand notice, explaining that the matter was already raised by the investigative division and the company was currently reconciling the figures with the department.
The new demand notice does not include the initial payment that ZRA raised in September 2015.
On Monday UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema exposed President Edgar Lungu’s schemes to shut down The Post ahead of the August 11 general elections because of the damage the newspaper had caused to his campaigns through its exposés.