AN attempt by Fred M’membe to transfer Post Newspaper assets to another company has been blocked by the Zambia Revenue Authority.
According to information availed to the Daily Nation, M’membe intended to transfer the Post Newspaper transport fleet, under the Post Courier Service, a wholly owned Post company, to a newly established company called Makumya Limited.
If this move had succeeeded, the fleet of vehicles, plant and equipment and other assets under the Post Courier division would have been put beyond the reach of the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA), which is in court demanding tax arrears from the Post.
A search at the Patents and Company Registration Office (PACRA) has revealed that Makumya Limited is owned by Fred M’membe who holds 100 ordinary shares and his daughter Akende M’membe has one ordinary share with Lusaka lawyer Nchima Nchito serving as director and secretary of the company.
The company is housed on the 5th floor of Godfrey House in Lusaka and has an initial investment capital of K10,000.
The company was incorporated on 4th. June 2015.
ZRA has blocked the move because the assets could be out of the reach of the authority in the event that the newspaper failed to discharge its tax liability amounting to K16 million to date.
In addition, there are apparently other pending investigations regarding the operations of the Post Newspaper which the ZRA has been restrained from undertaking because of the order of stay of execution obtained by the Post from the High Court.
The investigations concerning other financial operations of the paper, would be undetaken when the appeal by ZRA to the Supreme Court is allowed.
ZRA is reportedly concerned that the highly indebted Post Newspaper’s plan to move the assets at a time when litigation regarding the assets is on-going, is a scheme meant to escape and avoid settling tax bills to ZRA which have now accumulated to more than K18 million.
In rejecting the Post Newspapers’ proposal to transfer its assets to Makumya Limited, ZRA stated that the Post Newspaper’s transport fleet was part of the assets that the agency could destrain should the newspaper fail to discharge its liabilities.
The Post Newspaper along with its owner Fred M’membe, suspended Director od Public Prosecutions (DPP) Mutembo Nchito and his brother Nchima Nchito’s locked in the K14 million Development Bank of Zambia (DBZ) loan saga which, according to High Court Judge Nigel Mutuna, was obtained by fraudulent misrepresentation.
The Post is curently in court contesting the K16 million ZRA is trying to recover.