By Felix Osike
The former Commissioner General of Uganda Revenue Authority Annebrit Aslund is dead.She died on Wednesday evening in the UK according to family sources.
Annebrit Aslund, a Swedish expatriate and wife to former British High Commissioner to Uganda Mike Cook was appointed the new Commissioner General of the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) in June 2001.
Cook in an email to the New Vision said Aslund died on April 24, “after an eighteen month fight against cancer.
Annebritt’s funeral will be held in the UK on May 9 at Clayton Wood Natural Burial Ground in the South Downs national Park, outside Brighton.
Annebritt emerged the best out of the five candidates for the top job. She had previously worked with PriceWaterHouseCoopers, an international auditing firm. She became the third Commissioner General since URA was established in 1991. Other CGs before her were Ghanian tax expert Edward Larbi Siaw and Elly Rwakakoko
Her three year contract expired in June 2004 and was not renewed by government. She was replaced by Mrs. Allen Kagina in November 2004. In the interim period from July-October 2004, Stephen Akabwai was the acting CG.
One of the main reasons for non-renewal of her contract was the recommendation from the Justice Julia Ssebutinde’s Commission of Inquiry into corruption in the URA.
The Commission report said Annebritt, an economist, had experience in auditing, accounting and taxation but none in managing a large organisation. But in a twist of events, Annebritt got court to nullify the report, arguing that she had not been given a chance to defend herself.
The friction over the Commission report which recommended radical changes in the management of the tax body and the URA decision to deny judges tax exemption is said to have hurt her chances for re-appointment.
Those who worked with her say she took uncompromising stand on some taxation issues and helped improve URA’s tax collection.
At the end of her contract she became Head of Finance with Stanbic Bank. She then established her own tax consultancy which she was running until earlier this year even while fighting her cancer.
She was born in Stockholm, Sweden and educated at Trinity College, Dublin and the Stockholm School of Economics from which she graduated with distinction.
After graduation she entered the accountancy profession in Sweden specialising in taxation. After marrying her husband Michael Cook in 1983, whom she met when he was serving as a British diplomat in Stockholm she practised in Trinidad and Tobago, Tanzania and the UK where she obtained further qualifications and ultimately became a Fellow of the Association of Tax Technicians.
When her husband was appointed British High Commissioner to Uganda in 1997, she joined him and was selected to set up and run a tax department within Price Waterhouse, subsequently PWC.