Amid a challenging economy that has paralyzed businesses in the country, including media houses, police from the Monrovia City Corporation momentarily shut down offices of The NewDawn for annul municipal tax on Thursday.
A group of City Police officers Thursday, August 05, 2021 besieged offices of the paper on UN Drive opposite the National Investment Commission (NIC) in Central Monrovia and momentarily placed padlock on the iron doors to the entrance of the building, instructing staff to stay away.
Unfortunately, neither the managing editor Mr. Othello B. Garblah nor anyone from the Business Office was in the office at the time.
The group of City Police officers, comprising three males and a female, behaved very unprofessionally, engaging the entire staff of the paper in acrimonious argument.
Effort by the Editor [writer of this article] to intervene went unheeded, as the City Police officers insisted on shutting down the premises unless someone from the Business Office could appear and comment.
In a subsequent phone call placed to the Head of the Business Office, Ms Piso G. Carter, who was out, confirmed to the officer leading the team that the MCC has been bringing documents to the entity, asking for annual municipal tax clearance.
Ms. Carter then asked the City Police officers to come back, as she was indisposed.
While the phone conversation was ongoing between the Head of the Business Office and the senior city police officer, other officers who accompanied the team, engaged rest of the New Dawn staff in bitter argument, saying they have strict instructions to close down any business entity operating within the municipal city that is not in compliance.
“Why a reputable newspaper like the New Dawn is not paying tax”, one of the male officers asked and maintained they were waiting for final instructions to seal the office.
When this writer tried to explain that abruptly or forcefully closing down a business office should not be the first option, they became further enraged. However, the senior officer who led the team, understood and asked fellow members to leave.
Legitimate business houses are not refusing to pay taxes, but when the business environment is challenged by lack of sales, particularly coupled with the government’s indebtedness to media houses for services rendered like is the reality in Liberia, it becomes not only frustrating but very strenuous. Story by Jonathan Browne