By Job Bwire
KAMPALA - The Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) has threatened to have a Congolese businessman arrested in connection to ivory it believes was smuggled into the country.
The man went to court claiming ownership of the recently impounded 832 pieces of ivory from Bweyogere, Kampala.
Speaking with New Vision on Friday at Nakawa High Court after the hearing of the case hit a snag, the URA legal representative, Bernard Olok, said they intend to apply for an international warrant of arrest for Emille Kayumba Ogane.
The Congolese national, who failed to appear in court despite a court order, is the director of Kayumba Company Ltd.
URA impounded the said ivory on October 17 last year from Ken Freight Forwarders.
Following the confiscation of the material, Kayumba sued URA and sought a court order to compel the tax body to release the ivory.
In the application filed before Nakawa High Court judge, Wilson Musalu, the businessman said he exported the ivory from DR Congo’s Goma through Bunagana border post into Uganda lawfully.
Kayumba’s court application indicates that his agent secured transit transport from Ken Freight Forwarders and a container but that the cargo was seized by URA on claims that it was prohibited and smuggled.
His lawyers now claim that because of the actions of the local tax body, the businessman has suffered loss of delivery time of the cargo to its destination – China and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
They insist that the cargo was wrongfully seized while in transit to Mombasa, claiming the action contravenes the East African Customs Management law.
However, when the case came up for hearing on December 20 last year, Judge Musalu declined to hear the case and instead ordered that the Congolese businessman should appear in court January 10 (Friday).
In appearing in court, the judge had said, Kayumba would have to explain how and where he got the contentious ivory from, part of which Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) fears could have come from some of its reserves in Uganda.
But the Friday hearing flopped following the absence of trial Judge Musalu, who was said to be in Entebbe presiding over a criminal session.
Kayumba, who is the complainant in the matter, also did not appear in court.
According to Judge Musalu’s court clerk, the matter will be fixed for hearing on a yet-to-be decided date.