The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) is investigating Mediamax for non-remittance of Pay As You Earn (PAYE) deductions from employees, Kahawa Tungu has learnt.
In a letter from KRA’s Investigation and Enforcement Department, the taxman is now demanding to be furnished with cashbooks, payrolls, PAYE Ledger, employee movement schedules and other documents from the media house owned by the Kenyatta family.
“We are reviewing your PAYE self-assessments returns for the periods October 2019 to December 2019 and March 2020 to May 2020,” said KRA in a letter dated June 15, 2020.
Two officers have been assigned the case, Mr Sammy Kisotu and Mr Abdi Guyo. KRA has already listed 70 employees whose data will be used in the preliminary investigations.
According to sources who spoke to Kahawa Tungu, the mess at Mediamax is beyond what is in the public domain, since the company has not been remitting statutory deductions such as the National Hospital Insurance Funds (NHIF) and National Social Security Fund (NSSF).
Employees discovered the development after some employees were unable to access NHIF services, since their deductions had not been remitted.
This comes at a time the employees have written to President Uhuru Kenyatta seeking his intervention over unpaid salaries and looming mass lay-off.
In a letter addressed to the Head of State, the employees said that efforts to solve the pay dispute with the Acting Chief Executive Officer Ken Ngaruiya had proved futile.
They claim that the CEO is arrogant and often uses blackmail and intimidation to silence anyone who dares to challenge his decisions.
Mediamax, the holding company for K24 and Kameme TV stations, People Daily, Milele FM and several vernacular radio stations, had notified the employees of up to 50 per cent pay cuts citing the adverse effects of Covid-19 on company business.
In a consolidated ruling delivered last Wednesday, Justice Bryam Ongaya ordered the company to immediately disburse accrued full April and May salaries.
The judge further ruled that while effecting the intended redundancies the employer must observe existing contracts.
“With no orders on costs and with further orders that the contract of service between parties is preserved with no pay cuts but affected staff may go on redundancy per law and prevailing contracts, ” the judge said.
“The contract is in place without pay cuts and the law says when they should be paid so the law is in place.”
The dispute, the staffers claim, largely contributed to the recent resignation of anchor Betty Kyallo, Head of TV and Digital Peter Opondo and Head of Commercial Caroline Mwangi.
“Impunity and arrogance that saw one of our own, a news correspondent from Molo, take his own life. Impunity that saw star talent and the host of K24’s main anchor show Weekend With Betty, resign in a huff due to continued disrespect and ill-treatment, ” the letter reads.
“Indeed, a team or a company is only as good as its leader and yours, Sir, is being led to the gallows to die a permanent death. He must be called to order and reminded that the country is ruled by the rule of law and none of us, including him, is above the law. ”
The employees demand that the Ngaruiya pays the full April and May salaries, respect existing contracts when effecting redundancies and uphold workers’ rights, integrity and welfare.