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URA hit by number plate scam

By Vision Reporter

Added 6th July 2013 02:24 PM

Vehicle buyers beware. The new car you are driving may not be yours and you could be sharing the Reg. No. with someone else.

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Vehicle buyers beware. The new car you are driving may not be yours and you could be sharing the Reg. No. with someone else.

By Felix Osike

Vehicle buyers beware. The new car you are driving may not be yours and you could be sharing the registration number with someone else.

Worse still the number plate of the saloon car you are driving might belong to a tractor or a grader.

A motor vehicle registration number UAB 272M was spotted on the road. Being a Toyota Corolla Allex, model 2002, the old number plate appeared suspicious. the UAB series were released in 2000.

A confirmatory check was then undertaken in the Motor Vehicle Registration database and it revealed that UAB 272M had been allocated to a Toyota Hilux with engine and Chassis numbers 3L-4526953 and LN166-0010185 respectively. The first date of registration was on March 17, 2000.

This proved that the number plates were fraudulently fixed on the Toyota Corolla Allex. “There is a risk that this Corolla did not pay taxes on importation, leading to loss of revenue,” stated the report.

Fraud in vehicle registration has continued, unabated in Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), perpetrated by some unscrupulous staff and their agents, according a report released recently by the Auditor General, John Muwanga.

In another incident during inspections at Busia customs station, a Jeep with registration number UAA 263K was found parked among the seized units. The in-charge explained that it was being smuggled to Kenya.

However, further verification revealed that the number plate belonged to a Bedford lorry registered under Terrain Services Ltd with engine and chassis numbers NK252662714912 and 17492808 respectively.

It was found that the number plate was fraudulently removed from the lorry and affixed to the Jeep for the purpose of smuggling it to Kenya.Terrain Services has been asked to account for the number plate.

URA commissioner for public affairs, Paul Kyeyune, said, “People owned up and paid the taxes. Those who tampered with the registration paid fines. There are cases under investigation and others in court.”

He said URA had strengthened its IT security division to ensure such fraud does not happen. URA also carries out security audits and vehicle revalidation.

Sources say thousands of vehicles were fraudulently registered without paying taxes, through hacking the Uganda Revenue Authority computer database. Kyeyune said a former employee, who was later nabbed, was involved.

A URA official said last year, because of the unlimited access the hackers had gained to the URA database, over 1,000 vehicles were fraudulently registered. URA lost $10m (about sh26b) through hacking.

A previous audit established that at Mbarara customs station, the URA system originally registered a Mercedes Benz number UAJ 909B (chassis no. WDB2110611A178741 and engine no. 1129133143310) in the name Kiberu Collins Richard.

The system registered another motor vehicle Toyota Corsa (Chassis EL 43-7007821 and Engine number 5E-6034107) with the same number (UAJ 909B) but this time differentiating it by adding a dot at the end.

“The car was registered in the names of Hakiiza Ronnie. The Toyota Corsa was released without paying the due taxes and assigned log book number LB146603.”

Earlier investigations had also revealed that UAQ 800Q of a Caterpillar grader was given to a Subaru Forester, Isuzu ELF UAQ 834V to a Toyota Allion, Toyota Corona UAD 473K to a Toyota Hilux Surf, a Scania truck changed to Escalade UAQ 503Q and a Toyota Premio UAP 477 V changed to Landrover Freelander, all in a bid to dodge taxes.

This fraudulent registration, according to the auditors, has gone on for years.

URA hit by number plate scam

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