By Chris Kiwawulo
THE Toyota Tundra pick-up which investigators had impounded from former Uganda Red Cross Society (URCS) secretary General, Richard Nataka’s home in Munyonyo has been claimed by singer Bobi Wine.
Bobi Wine a.k.a Robert Kyagulanyi on Wednesday drove the Tundra with a red registration number plate UAT 416K from the Criminal Intelligence and Investigations Department (CIID) at Kibuli amid protests from the URCS.
The Tundra had been parked at Kibuli after it was impounded on suspicion of tax evasion. The Tundra was part of a consignment of suspected smuggled goods that a team of Police and Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) officials found at Nataka’s home. New Vision has learnt that the Tundra’s Bill of Lading had URCS as the importer.
URCS interim secretary General Ken Odur confirmed that the Tundra was imported by URCS, adding that they protested the release of the vehicle to Bobi Wine but their protest fell on deaf ears.
“The car was imported using the Uganda Red Cross name and money, so, it belonged to URCS. We don’t know why Bobi Wine claimed it and why the Police released it to him,” Odur told New Vision in an interview.
Sources said the CIID officer, Abbey Muhoozi, who was in charge of the case involving the vehicle told URCS that he had got orders from the Inspector General of Police, Gen. Kale Kayihura, to release the Tundra. Attempts to get a comment from Police were futile.
Odur also issued a statement in which he wondered why the car was released without giving Red Cross a reasonable opportunity to object and ascertain the claim of right being asserted by Bobi Wine.
He requested the government to assist URCS by all lawful means to recover possession of and resolve the issue of the right of ownership of the motor vehicle.
Recently, Nataka admitted there was a vehicle found in his compound, but said it belonged to a city businessman he did not name then.
When contacted, Bobi Wine said the car belongs to him and not URCS. “I was working with Red Cross for seven years as their goodwill ambassador. I imported that car using my money and since I was working with them, I asked for a lift in their container. I paid sh53m in taxes for that car.”
He said Nataka was his personal friend alongside many other Red Cross employees. “Is there anything wrong being a friend of a former secretary General? Red Cross even owes me sh43m but when I talked to that new Secretary General (Odur), he said that was trash.”
When contacted last evening, URA commissioner for public and corporate affairs, Paul Kyeyune, said he could not readily verify the ownership of the car and who paid the taxes but promised to do that on Thursday.