Fred Mmembe with Reporter Mukosha Funga at Woodlands Police Station
Fred Mmembe with Reporter Mukosha Funga at Woodlands Police Station

THE Post Newspaper, owned by Fred M’membe continued to cheat on its tax obligations long after obtaining a court order stopping the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) from seizing its property for a K22billion tax bill accrued over years of non compliance.

The paper, somehow, obtained two court orders stopping the ZRA from collecting the full amount owed in one installment and later in December 2014 obtained another “exparte order” preventing ZRA from making any decision or taking any steps which could be adverse to the paper until after judicial review hearing.

Since then according to court records the paper continued to cheat on its tax obligations by omitting some of the names of its employees when filing PAYE returns thereby under-declaring the tax due under PAYE.

So bad was the situation that the ZRA was forced to return to the High court in May this year to seek an interpretation on whether or not the Post newspaper, on account of the orders, was not supposed to file complete tax returns and pay Income Tax (Pay as You Earn) and not to pay taxes on the due dates for the period after the order was granted.

“That in view of the foregoing, the respondent has come to this honourable court to seek the court’s interpretation of the Applicants order of Stay on whether the said Order granted to the applicant prevents the applicant from filing correct returns and paying the current taxes due to the respondent. In addition, whether the Respondent is precluded from performing its functions of assessing and collecting the current tax due to the applicants.” The ZRA applied.

The ZRA protested that the Post had failed or neglected to pay PAYE due despite being aware of its statutory duty to pay taxes and had continued to under declare the PAYE due on its employees.

According to an affidavit filed in the High Court by ZRA assistant director, processing and enforcement, Large Tax Payer Office Yvonne Mwanza, the Post Newspaper apart from neglecting to remit income tax to the agency, was not filing accurate returns and had continued to charge Value Added Tax (VAT) collected its clients.

Ms Mwanza has revealed that from the time the Post Newspaper obtained an order restraining the agency from seizing its properties as a result of defaulting in tax remittance, the newspaper had not been filing proper and complete tax returns on PAYE and had been omitting some of the names of its employees.

At the time of the application the Post Newspaper owed the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) K12, 155,310 accumulatively from the initial tax liability of K22, 517, 952 inclusive of interest in unpaid tax obligations and penalties and has blocked the agency from seizing its properties through a court order.

In this matter, ZRA was seeking the interpretation of the court whether the Post Newspaper order restraining the agency from seizing its properties was also preventing the newspaper from filing correct returns and paying the current taxes accruing. Ms Mwanza said ZRA was also asking the court whether the same court order was stopping the agency from performing its mandated functions of assessing and collecting the current tax debt from the Post Newspaper.

“From the date the applicant obtained the stay of the respondent’s decision to disallow it from paying the tax due installments which debt is approximately K22,517,952.04 inclusive of interest and penalties as at the time of commencement of the action, the applicant has neglected to remit to the respondent the Income Tax in form of Pay as You Earn (PAYE) deducted from its employees. In addition, the applicant has continued to have Value Added Tax (VAT) collected from clients late, hence being charged penalties for late payment currently amounting to the sum of K578,086.55 and the applicant has a current outstanding tax debt due for PAYE to the respondent in the sum of K4,620,560.80 inclusive of interest and penalties,” Ms Mwanza said in her affidavit.

Daily National

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31 COMMENTS

  1. Truly laughable… in Zambia can you mess about with Tax Dept…try that rubbish with British Inland Revenue or US tax offices. You’re gone!!

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    • Problem is Lungu is trying to catch up on sleep time. He has been busy for the past few months. What kind of dirt does Mmembe have on most “so called powerful and influential people” in zambia? Is it Video evidence, contracts…….Teflon Don?

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    • True. On the flip side though one also has the rights to expect accurate and non political service. An error with my name caused me a huge delay courtesy of US Treasury while Inland a Revenue once hit me for five years of taxes which were inaccurate. Difference is they both worked through the issues in steps. Maybe considering the sums involved ZRA should do the same.

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    • THAT WAS MY THOUGHT, TOO. WHETHER YOU ARE AN INDIVIDUAL OR A COMPANY LAWS CONCERNING GOVERNMENT REVENUE COLLECTIONS ARE CAST IN STONE AND NO ONE MESSES WITH THOSE LAWS. IN FACT HERE IT’S BETTER YOU PAY THE TAX FIRST AND IF THERE ANY ANOMALIES THEY GET CORRECTED LATER. ONE CAN MESS WITH OTHER THING IF THEY CAN THAT IS. BUT, NOT GOVERNMENT REVENUE COLLECTION. BECAUSE THE GOVERNMENT HAS TO PAY DOCTORS AND NURSES AND PROVIDE ALL THE SERVICES MANDATED TO IT AND THE MONEY FOR THAT CANNOT BE DELAYED OR APPEAR TO BE DELAYED. THERE’S NO ‘SOME-OF-US’ TO REVENUE LAWS HERE. IT’S PAY FIRST AND CORRECTIONS WILL BE MADE LATER.

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    • TAKING REVENUE AUTHORITY TO COURT!!!!!!! THAT’S A SERIOUS JOKE IN THE COUNTRY. THAT’S WHAT HAPPENS IN A COUNTRY FULL OF BA SOME-OF-US. JUST LOOK AT SOME RBs WHO ARE WALKING FREELY WITH PURCHASED GOVRT FUEL WHICH NEVER REACHED BUT MONEY BANKED BY SOME SONS IN SOME BANKS ABROAD. WOULD YOU THINK THE JUDICIAL SYSTEM IS THERE?

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    • This is Rubbish. Where were you when the money was increasing. The man is a straight foward person and these are the people this country dont like. This man is a voice of the poor and I look forward to see you as a president big Fred. Keep on alerting us and speak for us.

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  2. The story is lifted from Richard Sakala’s Daily Nation. The two are rivals and both hypocrites who shouldn’t be given space

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  3. this is wat happens wen u have a corrupt judicial system bein run by the cartel.if I was owing tax of even 1000 kwacha,wud the same courts grant me these stupid judicial reviews?

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  4. It seems in Zambia, Fred Mmembe is above the law.My friend hu runs a small funeral business was recently visited by ZRA.After all his tax record were correct,they slapped him with the famous withholding tax on rentals and backdated for 2 years.If my friend sued ZRA,do u think these corrupt stooges at the high court wud even listen to him?Yet Mmembe kan do all he pleases and will be saved by High Court Judges he appointed thru the late Michael Sata.

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  5. Sadly the reason you can mess with the Zambian tax department is because it appears to be disposed to being used to settle political personal scores. The Post has reportedly had long standing issues with honouring their statutory and moral obligations. This did not seem to bother the authorities or elicit any intervention until their love affair with PF ended. For that reason, I am of the humble view that pursuing them now is as evil as having let them get away with non-payment of salaries and failure to meet their statutory obligations for so long.

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  6. K22billion tax bill accrued over years? 5 governments!

    Its a fact ECL and ZRA having been sleeping on duty.
    But once in a while ECL opens up his eyes.

    No wonder Mmembe hates the fellow!

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  7. I have to say I was impressed with the ZRA Lusaka offices and services. International standard facility and approach. Ground staff are stellar.

    Then I ran in to the kick back crew…. Oh Zambia. Seems money under the table is considered a way of life. Reminds me of Lands ministry. Anti corruption were there for a day and you should have seen the service that day! The day after it was business as usual with the ‘agents’ operating on ground floor.

    Better to sort this issue through courts and keep the records public. Am just saying…

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  8. Mmembe is using his brain to steal from the poor Zambians just like hh did during the privatisation process

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  9. They should be held accountable and the tax owed should be paid accordingly.No wonder we see those useless headlines every day.Let the law take its course !

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  10. Mmembe is no daft. He is clever, he knew ZRA were coming after his Post and that is why he started by mobilizing his cartel of spokesmen, women and clergymen from the opposition led by Nawakwi, UPND’s Nkombo, Cornelius, Milupi and the likes of Maureen, Andrew Banda etc.
    ECL’s boys and girls at ZRA (Msiska and Mwanza) will make him swallow his pride like Malema lost his house and farms.

    Zambians must brace themselves for a Zambia a post!

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  11. Before I start reading the article, let me ask why Mmembe and the Past news are still walking the streets free? Well okay let me say, seemingly free because clearly Mmembe is the most internally troubled person in Zambia today but putting up appearances. Just to give you a picture of how worried and troubled the man is, his mind would actually be freer and less troubled if he was in one of our notorious jails, that is how bad it is.
    Were you wondering why he harbours so much hatred for Edgar Lungu? Mmembe prays that he could provoke Lungu into locking up at Mukobeko but disappointed that Lungu is one of the few Presidents who respects the law and human rights and possesses the thick skin of a seasoned lawyer. Sorry, hard luck Mmembe and your cartel of spokespersons Nawakwi, Kabimba,…

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  12. etc etc. As Luonde, does not deserve my comment, he belongs to the class of underdeveloped primates in the primeval age.

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  13. etc etc. As for Luonde, does not deserve my comment, he belongs to the class of underdeveloped primates in the primeval age.

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  14. Put Funga and her boss in a unisex cell at Chimbokaila for twelve months and nothing will happen.

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  15. The law is too lenient on tax cheats. Simple as that. If it were the IRS, assets would be seized!

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  16. Look! Look! Our President is dozing!!
    Lungu dozes again …he falls asleep at a function in Siavonga
    By Snike Mzulah in Siavonga
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    PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu yesterday dozed off during the commissioning of Yalelo Fish Farm in Siavonga while agriculture minister Given Lubinda was delivering his speech.

    The Head of State, who on Wednesday night attended a ‘Meet the President dinner’ organised by the PF, was seen dozing at intervals while Lubinda, who was next to him, delivered his speech.

    Upon realising that the President was dozing, Lubinda stopped delivering his speech and gently gestured the Head of State to stay awake.

    This is the second time that the Head of State has dozed off during serious public events. On July 17, President Lungu dozed off as United…

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  17. Zambians must brace themselves without a Post for many years to come.

    At last we have a fearless Mbuya in leadership.

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  18. Taxes are supposed to be paid when due, no question about that. However, it is only fair to let the ‘Post’ put their argument in court, and the courts decide. ZRA should instead concentrate on tax evasion, those who get a lot of money, but do not appear on tax returns as officially do not exist, instead of punishing fellow countrymen whose only sin is to default.

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  19. selective justice in PF has been the order of their rule. It was all fine until Membe withdrew his support then vindictiveness started. Thats the major problem with PF. They can break all rules to support someone and break all rules to arrest people even innocent ones

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  20. Lungu has clearly licked the cartel. They have been out smarted and dribbled completely. Mathani is on the run,Mmembe headed for bankruptcy and jail. Nchito headed for serious financial ruin. Come on Lungu finish off the wounded snake.

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  21. That was a miscalculation by The Post, by not paying tax for such a long period, even the infamous Al Capone was nailed for tax related offences, too bad, for surely we have to brace our selves for the collapse of the once famous post, too bad even workers are not being paid.

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