Court rebuffs Malawi Revenue Authority plea to lift injunction against Times

High Court in Blantyre on Tuesday refused  an application by Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) to lift an injunction which was  granted to  media giant Times Group restraining the tax collecting body from shutting it down.

The Times Group: Malawi media giant

Judge James Chigona said he could not vacate the injunction and has allowed the matter to go for full judicial review.

The court had granted the injunction to Times after MRA officials seized records and vehicles of the media group at Ginnery corner in Blantyte  and sealed the offices.

MRA head of corporate affairs Steve Kapoloma said Times was sealed for failure to settle a tax liability amounting to K675 969 316.75.

“The amount comprises of K504 962 332.87 as taxes due and K171 006 983.89 as penalties and interests. The tax liability relates to non-payment for Value Added Tax, Corporate Tax, Fringe Benefit Tax, Withholding Tax, Pay As You Earn for specified periods between January 2011 to March 2016,” reads the statement in part.

But the news organisation through its lawyer Patrick Mpaka argue that the MRA action is not acting in good faith.

Times  Group editor-in- chief George Kasakura suspects the move is politically motivated, saying: “Times has been remitting its taxes every month”.

Some media houses including Malawi Broadcasting Corporation and Nation Publications owe MRA tax liability, according to sources at the tax body.

But MRA action against Times Media Group comes fast on the heels of publications of articles on maize involving suspended Admarc chief executive officer Foster Mulumbe and Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development George Chaponda.

Following the publications, Admarc on December 29 2016 served Times Group with an injunction restraining the media group from publishing anything related to the maize transaction. The injunction was vacated.

The revelations in the media have made civil society organisations (CSOs) in the country to apply to court for the suspension of  Chaponda to allow for smooth investigations into the deal which was granted by High Court.

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6 thoughts on “Court rebuffs Malawi Revenue Authority plea to lift injunction against Times”

  1. Dennis Kalowekamo says:

    You cannot slaughter a cow which gives you milk neither cut down a tree which gives you oranges (fruits). Let Times Group keep on operating and pay the tax arrears by instalments as many politicians, expatriates in big companies, limited companies and NGOs in Malawi are on tax holiday.

  2. Nyopex says:

    Courts are not happy with you, MRA. Thus Lesson No 1. Bravo Patrick Mpaka! God will guide you.

  3. Yahya Jammeh says:

    Semani, don’t rush into blaming Mpaka, but do your investigations first to establish if indeed other media houses mentioned in the story are violating the tax law. If yes, then your blame does not have any merit. Why should MBC which does not balance its news coverage to let us to make our own judgements on issues be left scot-free when it is breaking the law the same way it is believed Times has done? The media operate like the court judge who hears from both the complainanat and the defendant in order to make a fair determinaion of the judgement. Does MBC do this? All media houses must be treated equally and the arm of the law must not be selective in whipping the wrong doers. It would have been fair for you to urge all media houses to pay tax, but you are biased against Times Group. By doing so you are not only being biased, but also displaying your ignorance about the tenets of fairness. I will rule Gambia a million years.

  4. Biased says:

    How many companies does not pay MRA in Malawi or owls MRA and are still freely operating.
    Why can’t they negotiate with Times Group as it normally happens that they should be paying in phases ?
    It’s indeed questionable

  5. Semani says:

    Patrick Mpaka, do you love your country? anthu sakulipila misonkho komaso ndi iwe amene ukudyelera misonkho yomweyo that’s dangerous

    1. Times sympathiser says:

      Is Times Group not innocent till proven guilty? Did MRA act in good faith especially when you have booty-licker media houses like MBC being spared? Tax laws require consistency in application. Cheers Patrick.! Fighting for a good cause!

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