Malawi Times sealed off

BLANTYRE - The  Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) has today sealed Times Group offices in Blantyre over tax arrears the media group owes government.

Operations at Malawi's privately-owned media business, The Times Group, have been stopped after officials from the revenue authority, accompanied by police, stormed the offices in the city of Blantyre and seized its property and closed the premises.

The Times Group Editor-in-Chief George Kasakula described the incident as politically-motivated and an “act of impunity”, The Times reported.

The heavily-armed police officers stood guard at all entry and exit points, while others escorted tax collectors as they took records and seized vehicles, the report says.

All production work on radio and TV and its print edition Malawi News have been stopped.

Journalists have also not been able to access the building.

Mr Kasakula said that the tax authorities had not given the media business any notice:  “MRA [Malawi Revenue Authority] 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.”

Mr Kasakula said he suspected that the raid was linked to a scandal about a state agency, Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc), purchasing maize from Zambia at inflated prices and vowed to continue reporting the story:  

“We are being punished for publishing the truth about the maize scam, but we will continue publishing and broadcasting the truth.

“Our lawyers are working on this and we pray that we should be back to work. Rest assured that Malawi News will come out tomorrow.” – BBC

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.