ZRA in a legal tangle with Post Newspaper

 

Dear Editor, Whoever said two heads are better than one probably did not have Zambia’s Revenue Authority (ZRA) and the Post Newspaper in mind. Both sought legal action as a way to resolve their tax debt standoff, the tax debt payment arrangement that it was supposed to foster is creaking under disagreements between the two men at the top. The rift was exposed by an Order of the Tax Appeals Tribunal which directed that the Post Newspaper’s business premises be handed back, after the police were instructed by ZRA to occupy the Post Newspaper’s premises, and stopped the media house from operating reportedly in execution of a warrant of distress following the Supreme Court Order. Admittedly, ZRA wanted to send out the message that it was acting on tax evasion, but it escalated into a row over who really had the legal power over tax issues between the Supreme Court and the Tax Appeals Tribunal. For a brief moment it looked as though Zambia’s international partners would have to ride to the rescue of the Post Newspaper. The US ambassador in Lusaka, Eric Schultz, called for dialogue between the two sides citing bad timing, media freedom and the interests of the nation. There was also an appeal from the UPND billionaire businessman who was supposed to bail out the Post Newspaper in exchange of favourable media coverage during the just-ended election campaigns. The UPND president promised to intervene and eventually write-off the tax debt had he won the August 11 polls. But as God would have it, he lost the presidential polls again. After the polls, ZRA commissioner general Kingsley Chanda warned that tax evasion was tantamount to committing murder and was a serious crime against the State, hence the need for tax compliance by all institutions. The nation may have been hoping that the Post Newspaper proprietor Fred M’membe was listening to ZRA’s advice. But as expected, the Post Newspaper instead, sued the Attorney General over the decision by Zambia Police to ‘illegally’ occupy their business premises and stop them from operating in contravention of an Order of the Tax Appeals Tribunal (Daily Nation, October 6, 2016). The question now is what impact the Post Newspaper’s over K53million tax debt will have on the revenue collections in 2016 and on the preparations for the 2017

national budget. The country is supposed to collect the K300 million annual target shortfall before them because ZRA’s recent revenue collection target review revealed a high level of underperformance. Observers think that the ZRA and Post Newspaper legal tangle will scupper ZRA’s efforts to achieve the 2016 annual revenue collection targets. Mubanga Luchembe, LUSAKA

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Disgusting Cornelius Mweetwa must be disciplined

Dear Editor, Bravo ZNBC for showing us the rudeness of the UPND leadership. The temerity of UPND’s Cornelius Mweetwa and general disposition of his colleague makes very sad reading. They are in denial over the leadership of President Lungu which they are using as an excuse for sedition and slander. What is most worrying is that these people wanted to be in power. What kind of leadership would they have made if, as opposition, they cannot accept the wishes of the people? As a country, we must count ourselves blessed for having been saved from this self-centred group of people who cannot accept the will of the majority of the Zambian people. It is clear that they would have been the worst possible dictators because they have no regard for any other people other than themselves. These are people who would have sent enemies to prison without any sense of judicial process. It is my hope that the Speaker of the National Assembly and his team who are probing the failure by the UPND to attend the official opening of Parliament will take the sternest possible measures to inculcate discipline. The Bible says that leaders must be respected. The UPND who claim to be believers must follow this precept or be found wanting. Emmanuel Banda

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Legislators should honour Zambians

Dear Editor, I write to urge our legislators, both Members of Parliament and Councillors to pass bills that are not self-centered but for the benefit of their bosses, the electorate. We have seen how in the last Parliamentary debates good bills meant for the benefit of the majority Zambians were not supported because of self-centredness. Bills like calling of absentee, non-performing and abusive legislators were some of the good bills that the last Parliament did not approve and pass over to the President to assent into law. Please, honour Zambians by being alive to their concerns. This will also be performing to President Lungu’s expectation; to serve the people who voted for you. Wisdom Muyunda CHINGOLA

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Vice-President Inonge Wina spot on

Dear Editor, I write to concur with what our Vice-President Ms Inonge Mutukwa Wina stated on the conduct of our country’s cooperating partners. Zambia is truly a young democracy but has been a marvel in the region for any person to cast a negative wave. Our cooperating partners should, therefore, respect our laws and be very careful with their comments. It is world over expectation that any nation accredited to another nation should follow the tenets of that country’s justice system. Respect for the Government in power should, therefore, be a prerequisite for every mission. Concerned citizen CHINGOLA

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Change Chipolopolo name

Dear Editor, If Zambia has to go to Russia for the World Cup Finals in 2018, then lets change the name of the Zambia National Team, from “Chipolopolo” which is not a living object to “Red ants” which are living creatures. Ichipolopolo is not a living object, it is inanimate and therefore, has no brain.  ‘Red ants’ are such tiny creatures and easy to crash and kill when they act as individuals. The strength of Red ants, therefore, lie in their ability to work together. When Red ants enter your underwear; you may be a King or bride groom seated at the high table, but I bet it will be Lucky Dube’s “nobody can stop reggae.”  Unless there is another nation already using the ‘Red Ants’ name, I would like to suggest, not just to FAZ, but to the nation at large, to go and consult with the fox, lion or leopard and hear what they will say about the ‘Red Ants’. After all, copper is no longer the metal it used to be to our economy. It can only symbolise a wasting and fluctuating asset. Let the eagle step on the ‘Red ants’ on Sunday, and see whether it will fly again. Mukuka Chilufya Chambishi Mine Township

Categorized | Letters

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