Post wins pyrrhic victory

THE Tax Appeals Tribunal has passed a highly contentious and confusing ruling over The Post Newspapers debt to the Zambia Revenue Authority.

Tax Appeals Tribunal Registrar Chola Shapi-Mutambo insists that ZRA should handover control of The Post Newspapers’ Bwinjimfumu property, industrial area plant and the instruments necessary for the running of the newspaper company.

At the same time, she has also ordered The Post to handover possession of trucks, trailers and other property to the tune of K53 878 401.83 the amount being demanded by ZRA in unpaid taxes and that The Post must pay to ZRA what it deemed to owe them.

It is not clear what must come first and whether the newspaper company had assets worth the K53 million being demanded by ZRA and if they dont have the assets what happens?

Ms Shapi-Mutambo in her ruling said the Post must honour the conditions of the ex-parte order to handover assets with the value of the owed amount dating back to 2007.

She made the ruling following ZRA’s application to dismiss the ex-parte order and the appeal against the execution of the warrant of distress in the recovery of money owed.

In her ex-parte order, Ms Shapi-Mutambi said for the avoidance of doubt, it was ordered that the respondent (ZRA) handover the premises and allow the appellant to continue conducting business pending determination of this matter subject to conditions of the order.

The Post newspaper appealed to the Tax Appeals Tribunal that ZRA hands over confiscated properties and allows the tax defaulter operate normally against a Supreme Court Judgment that mandated the taxman to apply the law and recover the taxes owed. “It must also be noted that the ex-parte order granted by the tribunal did contain other orders by way of obligations on wither party’s side which orders did not in any way go against or thwart the respondent’s (ZRA) recovery of tax debt by way of distress.

“All in all, I find that the respon,” she said.

arties on which action comes first in complying with the conditions of the ex-parte order granted to The Post against ZRA, which action must be in support of the full recovery of the money.

Ms Shapi-Mutambo had granted an order of injunction against the ZRA action to take possession of Post Newspapers’ Bwinjimfumu offices, the printing plant in the heavy industrial area and a number of trucks and trailers confiscated in the recovery of unpaid taxes amounting to K53, 878,401.83.

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