Crisis at Times Group

Malawi’s so-called media giant, The Times Group, has been dealt a heavy blow following the closure of its offices and seizure of property at its Blantyre Head Office by the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA).

The company, which is owned by the family of fallen dictator, Hastings Kamuzu Banda, and has strong links to opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP), owes MRA about K2 billion in income tax.

Times Group is currently in court to avoid paying K1.3 billion which MRA has been demanding. This time, MRA is requiring MRA to pay another tax bill of K670 million.

According to a statement issued by the Malawi Revenue Authority, “The tax liability relates to non-payment Value-Added Tax, Corporate Tax, Fringe Benefit Tax, Withholding Tax, Pay As You Earn for a specified period between January 2011 and March 2016.”

This development sharply contrasts the reputation of the media company which, like any other media house, holds every citizen to accountability on paying taxes.

Sources within the establishment say even though Times Group also owes a commercial bank hundreds of millions of kwacha. The company once borrowed $1.4 million (K10.5 billion) to invest in radio and television expansion on the miscalculation that they would make money out of signal distribution.

MRA and police officers sealing The Times Group property

But the management of the company has always blamed its financial woes on Government. The company’s top managers pay themselves huge salaries and other benefits while junior staff like reporters earn as low as K40, 000.

Chikadya (Left): Abusing Funds At Times Group

“The problem is that top managers like the managing editor, Mr George Kasakula and the managing director, Mr Leonard Chikadya, use the company for their own benefits. They give themselves huge allowances for nothing,” said the source, opting for anonymity.

According to the inside source, staff at the company could not be paid their October salaries in time because Chikadya’s contract had been renewed and he had demanded that he should be paid his pension right away.

“The money which was meant to be used as salaries for the company’s staff was paid to Chikadya. It was about K20 million. Workers at the company received their salaries from the 8th of the following month. I think managers who know how to run a company should even have been good at paying the taxes instead of stealing the money,” said the source.

Kasakula: Also Under Fire For Abusing Times’s Funds

It is also reported that Chikadya single-handedly procured printing machines at exorbitant prices with the aim of siphoning money for himself. The machine now regularly breaks down and even its printing quality is very poor.

“Management also claimed to have bought TV equipment like cameras at K5 million each even though they actually cost K1 million. All this was a deliberate move aimed at stealing the company’s money and they succeeded. One wonders whether the board of directors does not see anything wrong with the company’s management,” said the source.

Meanwhile, it has also emerged that junior workers at the company have gone for over two years without a substantial salary increment while the top managers award themselves huge salaries and allowances.

Observers, including some staff at the company, say they don’t see the media giant surviving for the next two years due to poor management which has resulted in the company owing several entities money in billions.

Times Group: Sealed

The action by MRA has come after several reminders to the company that it should settle its tax arrears which date to several years back.

Information that we have further indicates that Times Group owes Old Mutual millions of kwacha because the company has not been remitting pensions for its employees despite being at the forefront faulting other companies over the same.

The company also failed to pay pension to its deceased photojournalist, Bonex Julius, because it was not remitting his pension. It fired Julius, but lied to the nation that he had retired. (BY JETHRO KAMWENDO)

 

 

40 Responses to "Crisis at Times Group"

  1. Pure-Francis Masiku   January 13, 2017 at 9:19 pm

    u tyms ppo hw can a country develop wth that attitude aaah? taxgate yanu ndakwiya nanu kwambiri ngat akukunamizirani osapita kwa aneba(zbs) mukatsutsire kunyumba kwawo bwanji?, muli ndwiii ngat akugwiran ufiti bwanji? kkk so shame

    Reply
  2. Mw Stan   January 14, 2017 at 2:44 am

    Ka Page ka DPP aka kamakamba nkhani za DPP … You want to kill us Malawians in all circles, why Times Group, cause awulula maizegate ? lets be real why reviewing tax compliance now where was MRDDPA all this time? mmene mwatseka Times group you have just unemployed 300 plus Malawians

    Reply
  3. Hendrix Zimba   January 14, 2017 at 5:24 am

    Educated savages. Empty heads. Pleasing your masters while wallowing in absolute poverty. Shame. Cadet wachabechabe ngati iwe umalandira zingati? 40,000 imakwana? Times Group pays bho. Try them.

    Reply
    • spencer murewa   January 15, 2017 at 10:43 pm

      Ndi K40,000.00 yomweyo, kungoti kwinako mumaona ngati ndi zambiri osadziwa mukudya misonkho kkkkk mwafanayo, inu muzionatu, simunati.

      Reply
  4. Leliah David   January 14, 2017 at 8:51 am

    Zaziiiiiiii

    Reply

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