15th March, 2017
We have reviewed the matter of The Post Newspaper (under liquidation) and we have come to a conclusion that the liquidation of The Post is fraudulent, unjust and tyrannical by the Patriotic Front (PF) government. This is not about the collection of Tax.
We, therefore, call upon the Chief Justice Ireen Mambilima and the Judicial Complaint Commission (JCC) to investigate the matter and ensure that the situation is corrected by giving back The Post to the rightful owners otherwise, this is a worst scandal since independence, where the government colludes with judicial officers to forcefully grab a company with over 2000 workers from citizens.
We have great respect for the one of the ladies, classified as an “Iron Lady”, for what she has done for this Country, in the past. Therefore, it would be sad to see her reputation soiled by some compromised judicial officers, especially her judges.
We would also like to remind the PF Government, under the leadership of President Edgar Chagwa Lungu, that Zambia is a democratic State which must be governed in accordance with the rule of law not the dictatorial tendencies being exhibited. Zambia belongs to Zambians and not the PF or President Lungu.
The case of The Post dates as far back as 2009 when the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) took the company to court for nonpayment of Taxes which amounted to K26 million. The case protracted up to the Supreme Court where it was disposed off on 13th June 2016 in favor of ZRA.
Besides, the case mentioned above, ZRA had initiated other investigations on The Post and fined the company K54 Million for some Tax irregularities.
Based on the two amounts, less what was paid by The Post, which stood at K68 Million, ZRA pounced on the company and shut its doors from all operations. The Post took the matter to Revenue Appeals Tribunal (RAT).
On 27th June 2016, RAT ruled that the two matters should be separated and The Post should pay the debt which was ruled upon by the Supreme Court and provide security for the K54 Million which was disputed pending an inter-parte hearing on 11th July 2016
RAT ordered ZRA to handover the properties to The Post so that it can resume its normal operation. However, ZRA could not obey the order and had Dr. Fred M’membe, his wife Mutinta Mazoka and Assistant Joseph Mwenda locked up at Central police for insisting that, ZRA should handover the properties of the company.
The Post later initiated contempt litigation against ZRA but this case could not see the light of day because, agents of the PF Govt engaged fraudulent scheme to take over The Post Newspaper once and for all.
The Govt agents coerced 5 workers of The Post to selfishly initiate “winding-up petition” (Liquidation) against the company. The 5 workers were selfish because they only looked at what was being offered to them forgetting other 2000 plus workers, who are now without jobs.
The 5 workers also filed an Exparte application to appoint the master minder of this scheme, Lewis Mosho of Messrs Lewis Nathan Advocates to be appointed provisional liquidator and the application was granted without hearing the other party.
The appointment of Lewis Mosho was the master stroke to grab The Post from Fred M’membe, as the major shareholder for his critical stance against the PF Govt. From there on, all efforts to challenge the liquidation have been blocked by a friendly Judge or other tyrannical methods which includes the arrest of The Post lawyer, Mr. Nchima Nchito, Mrs. Mutinta M. M’membe and Dr. M’membe himself.
From the above brief recount of events, it is clear that, the liquidation of The Post was not about Taxes but a well crafted fraud abetted by 5 workers from The Post. It is well crafted fraud because:
- Who are the workers petitioning the court to liquidate The Post?
(i) ANDREW HERBERT CHIWENDA worked for The Post worked for the company for 12 years and he is claiming K720,000 after voluntary resignation.
The figure Andrew is claiming is totally fraud, because how did the company owe him K720, 000 within 12 years when he had even resigned on his own. Besides that, he was sent to UK for studies on company expense and he was supposed to pay back by working for The Post.
Andrew has since been paid his dues by being employed at one of the quasi Govt road and traffic agency.
(ii) ROY HABALU is claiming K20, 000 in an unclear circumstances but he is also enjoying the benefits by being employed at the same road and traffic agency.
(iii) BONAVENTURE BWALYA and MWENDALUBI MWEENE are both claiming for K30, 000 each, without explanation.
(iv) ABEL MBOOZI is claiming K15, 000.
The claims by these 5 workers have not been challenged by The Post because all efforts have been thwarted either by the Judge or by the State agents.
- Who is the Judge in this case?
The judge, who has been passing very questionable rulings and orders, is Judge SUNDAY BWALYA NKONDE.
Before Judge Nkonde was appointed Judge by President Edgar Lungu, he used to be Former President Rupiah Banda’s lawyer in a case where RB took Fred M’membe to Court. One would wonder if Judge Nkonde’s appointment was as the result of his connection to RB since many other contacts of the former President have found favor in the eyes of President Lungu in one way or the other.
But more importantly to this case, Justice Nkonde working with RB tried to fabricate a case against The Post on behalf of Finance Bank just before the 2011 general election. The move was to try and cripple The Post so that, the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) can reduce on the damage The Post was inflicting on them during the campaigns.
Unfortunately, this case could not go anyway, since the PF came into power and that is how RB failed to close downThe Post leaving the job to President Edgar Lungu working with Lewis Mosho.
- Who is Lewis Mosho?
Lewis Mosho was ferociously exposed by The Post in the case involving Shoprite were it was alleged that he took advantage of almost K50 Million proceeds from the sale of shares. Mosho was acquitted last year in July at the height of The Post case.
One would think that, Mosho was cleared of his cases so that he can come in and take care of The Post in the manner that he is doing currently.
Mosho was also exposed by The Post in a case involving a South African-based renewable energy company called STAG. It was alleged that Mosho wanted to be ZESCO Board Chairman to influence the Zambian government to awards a Power Purchase contract to STAG. The Post reported that Mosho was supposed to pocket US$17 million if the deal went through. Unfortunately, the exposure of The Post seemed to have spoiled deal for Mosho.
The facts surrounding this case, pose as a judicial scandal because:
(a) Why hasn’t the Chief Justice and JCC responded to the complaints of The Post in relation to Justice Nkonde? How can a judge who once fabricated a case against The Post be the judge in the disputes involving it’s workers?
(b) Why did Justice Nkonde order for the liquidation of The Post without hearing The Post was to whether the claim by the 5 workers was substantive or not?
(c) It is by law that, before Liquidation, a demand letter has to be written to the debtor but no letter was written toThe Post, so how could the Judge go on to order liquidation?
(d) Why has the court and the State agents frustrated all the efforts by the respondents to challenge the petition and orders, to an extent of arresting lawyers of The Post?
While we condemn some of the publications of The Post which at time borders on slander and malice to propel a desired agenda, we do not subscribe to tyrannical behavior to trample on media freedoms or indeed any human rights as being exhibited by the PF Govt under President Edgar Lungu.
Our party seeks to promote all the rights and freedoms of people including the media and other institutions. EEP pledges a credible Govt that, will restore human dignity.
May God bless the Republic of Zambia