14 January 2017 Last updated at: 9:00 AM
MRA hits the wall on Times closure: Papers out today
The move by the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) to seal the Times Group on Friday has seemingly hit the wall with the media group’s flagship weekend paper the Malawi News out today.
The front page of the paper reads ‘ We are still out!’.
On Friday the MRA sealed Times saying it failed to settle its tax liability that accumulated to K675, 989,316.75, taxes amounting to K504, 962,332.87 and penalties that have gone together with interest amounting to K171, 006,983.89.
MRA claims that Times Group has been shunning paying tax since January 2011 to March 2016 a statement that is contrary to Times Group editor in Chief George Kasakula’s confession that the media has been paying its revenues monthly.
Initially, Times Group had stopped all operations, including broadcasting on live broadcasts on Times Radio and Times Television, and production work on Malawi News, which comes out on Saturday.
But right now the papers are in the streets of Malawi.
On Friday night, Times was reportedly granted an order restraining MRA from shutting down the media group.
At the moment Times television is stuck with a DSTV alert about AFCON games with the BBC news running in the background while the Times Radio keeps playing music.
However Kasakula says the media house has been paying its revenues monthly.
Kasakula added that MRA failed to negotiate with Times Group on the amount given as tax to be paid as they argued that they have been paying tax to the government.
“MRA has seized our offices over taxes and yet we have been paying taxes every month. It is impunity and lawlessness on the part of the government. Just imagine, they came with a notice yesterday and, instead of offering us a chance for negotiations as they do in such cases — as you know that sometimes their figures can be wrong and you negotiate — they came 12 hours later to seize our property,” Kasakula was quoted by the media house’s website on Friday afternoon.
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