By Durell Namasani
The Malawi Revenue of Authority (MRA) today closed Times Group Limited – one of the country’s top media houses in what is alleged to be over unpaid taxes. There was heavy police presence at the offices this morning as the taxmen with the help of police officers ordered staff to vacate the buildings
This is the second time the media giant has faced closure after experiencing the same last year when the tax man also shut down the media giant over K675 million in unpaid taxes. It is has not been made known yet how much the station is yet to settle with the tax collector.
Times Group is the oldest private media house in the country. It owns Times Radio and Times TV. It also publishes Malawi News and Daily Times.
In a defiant move, Times journalist Brian Banda posted on social media an image of himself and others on their laptops in a restaurant confirming of the closure, but showing to the world that they are still working and won’t let the MRA move affect their business.
Social commentators have already questioned the move. Chalo Mvula of the UK based civil society organisation, Concern for Malawi (COM) doubted if the move has been made with good intentions “ it’s questionable when the taxman repeatedly targets media houses that are critical of the government- we do not want psychological intimidation of journalists who are critical of the government “said Mvula.