Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) on Friday sealed Malawi’s oldest media house Times Group over alleged Value Added Tax arrears,totaling up to K550 million the company owes the tax body dating back to November 2016.
Armed police accompanied by MRA officials stormed the Jonhstone Road based newspaper, Radio and Television giant around mid day and sealed the premises.
Group Chief executive Leonard Chikadya refused to comment when contacted but sources within Times confirmed the seal and that Company Secretary Innocent Mnowanyama Kaluwa had dashed to the High Court to seek an injunction against the tax collecting body.
Times which has been in the forefront in the coverage of the current face off between President Peter Mutharika and vice President Saulos Klaus Chilima, feels the MRA action is a way of silencing the critical media house.
Staff at Times Group complained that the action comes before salaries for June were paid to juniors, yet top management led by Chikadya paid themselves their executive salaries by May 18.
” It is sad that this incident is happening when top management collected their pay cheques” said TV presenter who refused to be named.
MRAs decision comes as a shock to Chikadya who had been spared by the Malawi Communication Regulatory Authority (Macra) after he struck a deal with Director General Godfrey Itaye to throw under the carpet any negative stories including alleged corruption rampant at Macra.
Three platforms, print, radio and TV chose to burry their heads in the sand as the Anti Corruption Bureau pounced on Macra DG Itaye who secretly struck a deal with Chikadya who is close friend to Simon Itaye, an uncle to Godfrey Itaye.
“They struck a silent deal that as long as Godfrey Itaye is DG, Times TV and Radio licences would be renewed without any hussles in return for a total blackout on any corruption news story involving Macra and Itaye in particular. ”
Itayes Personal Assistant Ulanda Maluza said her boss was out to Lilongwe for meeting and demanded an emailed questionnaire on the allegations.
Last year MRA sealed Times Group on the same tax issue.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :