By Anne Mugisa
CITY tycoon, Hassan Basajjabala is to be charged with forging a court judgment to evade tax payments, the Director of Public Presuctions has revealed.
The DPP, Richard Butera, told New Vision yesterday that he has already okayed the criminal charges against the tycoon and that Police are looking for him to be produce him in Court.
Basajjabala, under the Penal Code, faces a 10-year jail term if he is convicted on forging of judicial or official documents.
Additionally, he also faces an equivalent jail term for allegedly uttering the forged documents, if he is found guilty by the court.
Butera said that he has sanctioned forgery charges against Basajjabalaba after a rigorous investigation into the case.
Basajjabalaba allegedly forged a consent judgment between his Haba Group of companies and the Attorney General.
Haba Group, in the purported consent judgment represented four of Basajjabalaba's companies namely: Sheila Investments (U) Ltd.; First Merchant International Trading Co.; Victoria International Ltd.; and Yudaya International Ltd.
The Court has since disowned the said judgment and in July 2012 threw out Basajja's application against the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA). He was accusing the tax body of insisting on taxing him despite the consent agreement that shielded him.
According to him, the consent judgment was entered in on October 6, 2010 and was allegedly filed by the Court registrar on the same day. He claimed that in the judgment, the Attorney General in accordance with the directive of the President agreed to pay compensation to him (Basajja) and among other things agreed that "the above sums shall not be subjected to any taxes levied or reduced by URA or its agents in any way."
Justice Mwangusya who threw out Basajja's application last year noted that the court needed to look at the court record detailing the consent judgment before ruling whether the URA action was right or wrong, but failed because the record "simply does not exist in the Registry."
The judge then relied on the written evidence of the Registrar Civil Division of the High Court who stated that that consent judgment did not originate from there.
"The affidavit deponed (sworn) by the applicant is riddled with falsehood as there was never any consent judgment entered and what is on record is a forgery as the registrar, High Court Civil Division, confirmed…," Justice Mwangusya stated.
Basajja's woes originated from the sh142bn that he received from the Government as compensation for the city markets. The authenticity of this money is also being contested by the Government.
URA sought to tax the said compensation at sh20,121,239,094, which Basajjabalaba refused to do. When the tax body insisted on recovering the taxes and even froze Basajjabalaba's business accounts where the compensation was banked, the businessman run to Court pleading existence of a protective consent judgment.
During investigations for the forgery charges, Basajja and his co-directors in Haba had declined to appear before the Police investigators.