MRA demands K493m from Malawi newspaper giant BNL Times

Blantyre Printing and Publishing (BP&P) the oldest print media house in Malawi, is at it again with the Malawi Revenue Authority(MRA) as the tax body is demanding K493 million accumulated through non payment of taxes.

BP&P has several companies including Blantyre Newspapers Limited (or BNL Times Group) which publishes The Daily Times, Malawi News and The Sunday Times.

Sheriffs from the High Court of Malawi were deployed to the company recently to impound vehicles but the newspaper ginat was saved by a court injunction restraining the executing of seizure warrant.

Records at the High Court show that BNL’s tax invoice was at K493 million when MRA sent sheriffs to collect the vehicles and the company obtained a court order to stay execution pending judicial review.

Chikadya: BNL Times in tax puzzle
Chikadya: BNL Times in tax puzzle

“The case was decided and it was in favour of the MRA but Justice Dunstain Mwaungulu has not yet released the judgment,” said a High Court official, “and with penalties the amount has risen to K850 million.”

A senior officer at BNL also confirmed that the company owes MRA over K400 million and that sheriffs nearly pounced on them save for the High Court injunction.

“It was going to be an embarrassment had the sheriffs collected the vehicles. I do not know why we are always in running battles with MRA when this company makes a lot of money,” the officer said.

The officer said the administration of managing director Leonard Chikadya is always associated with tax evasion despite the company making lots of profits.

Chikadya refused to talk to Nyasa Times.

In November 2011 the company was also saved by a court order when MRA nearly sent sheriffs to collect vehicles after the company failed to remit K120 million of taxes.

The situation forced top management to change ownership of the company  cars into personal ownership.

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