ZAMBIA: FRED M’MEMBE SHOULD NOT HOLD THIS COUNTRY TO RANSOM IN THE GUISE OF PRESS FREEDOM

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 Fred-Mmembe

By Bight Chikele.
Mr. M’membe must be ashamed of himself and all those supporting his wrong doings regarding nonpayment of Taxes. There is nothing political or silencing of the media here.

Mr. M’membe should not hide in his political views or editorial policy which is biased to those who agree with him.

Let’s suppose The Post was paying all its Tax dues, would the company be closed today? The answer is a big NO, because there is nothing other than Taxes which the govt, albeit being compromised, have brought against The Post.

Factually and legitimate as it is, that The Post has abrogated the rule of paying Taxes, the Govt had to wait for the Court proceedings, till the Supreme Court for over a year to come and close the company to secure their money.

At some point ZRA was even embarrassed by the Court when they ruled against them, like when they had to return the Computers or when the High Court barred ZRA from ceasing some assets at Bwinjimfumu.

I wonder if it is such respect of the judiciary that made Mr. M’membe at one point to say that, President Edgar Lungu is the weakest President, because he allowed ZRA to follow the due process of the law to take its course.

Instead of doing everything possible to correct the situation Mr. M’membe went to his editorial to mock and ridicule ZRA and State House. Surely if this Country had no ounce of law and order and media freedoms, as some people like MISA – Zambia are suggesting, Mr. M’membe would not have lasted over a year to wait for the Court to rule.

Mr. M’membe keeps dragging State House in this as if the people we have employed at ZRA are imbeciles who do not know their job. I really appreciate the officials at ZRA because each time I have sort information or clarifications; they do a good job to take me through and make understand. Go there and you will see.

It is the courage and professionalism of ZRA that we have a situation as it is at The Post other than State House because many times State House wants to be political and people like Mr. M’membe get away with wrongdoings.

I am speaking so strongly because; I am one of those that has had a good discussion with  Mr. M’membe, State House and ZRA over this matter because I wanted to understand it.

For your own information, on this one I was siding with Mr. M’membe because I thought he was being victimized, this is why I went to him first, then I went to State House to tell them off but they objectively discussed the issue with me and referred me to ZRA.

At ZRA I learnt something I never knew about Mr. M’membe and he confirmed what I was told at ZRA but rushed to cry foul that he was being discriminated against. I don’t speak from without; Mr. M’membe can deny this if I am lying.

I stand for the truth and justice, this is why I will stand in court and shame this other criminal from Kabwata.

This is very straightforward, the POST failed to live up to its Tax Obligations and they have to take responsibility.

The excuse of being discriminated against by the fact that other companies are owing is misplaced and illogical. The Post should not be allowed to continue doing wrong things because other people are doing the same.

From our point of view, as citizens, we should now demand that ZRA go for all those companies who are owing to pay, that is progressive instead of asking ZRA to continue allowing wrong-doers to remain in the safe Heaven of Tax abrogation as they have done for a long time by supporting some politicians like Late Sata and Mwanawasa (MHIRP).

Others are talking of negotiating with The Post on terms of payment, how do you negotiate with a person that is not willing to negotiate, rather he is being arrogate and daring.

I am aware of some negotiations that ZRA had once engaged in and the conduct of Mr. M’membe has been far below what I expected of him as a man of principle.

Mr. M’membe’s attitude towards ZRA is different from Mr. Richard Sakala (of the Daily Nations) who was also once called by ZRA. Richard Sakala went to ZRA offices with his tail in between his legs, but Mr. M’membe, with his lawyers Mr. Nchima Nchito, went like a champion who cannot be touched.

Look at the statement is issuing, daring govt, for him it is a battle and he is stronger and powerful forgetting that it is the goodwill of the Zambian people, through govt, that he has what he owns and enjoys the freedom to speak like that.

But Mr. M’membe should realize that, he is not the only citizen or citizen number 1 to do whatever he wants and get away with it. We are all equal as citizens and we should be treated the same. He should not get away with wrong things because he is Mr. M’membe. That is not the Zambia I would like to below in.

Mind you Zambia is running on a deficit and it is increasing because Taxes are not collected adequately. We also want a share of these private companies through his payment of Taxes. Mr. M’membe and other private owners should not be selfish.

If The Post was going through some business challenges I would understand, but The Post has been doing well and Mr. M’membe has been expanding while many Zambians are going down which would be different if he paid all the Taxes.

To Govt, through ZRA, I say, don’t stop at Mr. M’membe – The Post, extend it to all the companies and make sure you collect Taxes.

To allow transparency ZRA act must be changed to allow the authority to publish Tax accounts of companies so that we know who owes what.

Taxes are public funds and we should know as citizens who owe us. At the moment ZRA holds Tax accounts confidential with organizations and a citizen cannot access the information. This must change; we need to know about the Tax affairs.

I hope The Post will manage to get money required and pay up soon, I miss their articles, but I need the Taxes more than their stories because as a Country we survive on that.

Politics teyabana iyoo….Taxes are need to run a Country.

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