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URA recalls 124 cars over tax evasion

By Charles Etukuri, Carol Natukunda

Added 22nd May 2016 11:42 PM

Sources at URA revealed that the vehicles had outstanding tax issues

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City businessman Jackson Akin Pemba is one of those cited by URA.

Sources at URA revealed that the vehicles had outstanding tax issues

The Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) has recalled 124 vehicles some of them luxury which are suspected to have been imported and registered illegally by tax evading cartels in Uganda.

In a public notice URA notified the owners of the vehicles to report to their offices on May 31 together with their car particulars.

“The owners of the motor vehicles listed below are summoned to report to URA headquarters Nakawa and present their motor vehicle to the Assistant Commissioner Enforcement for verification by the 31st Day of May 2016. Failure to do so these vehicles will be impounded and the owners will be apprehended,” the notice signed by Dickson Kateishumbwa the Commissioner for Customs Department.

Sources at URA told New Vision that the vehicles had outstanding tax issues, and most of them had been registered without paying the required taxes. The source further said some had wrong number plates that didn’t belong to them but to tractors and graders.

The cartel, sources say had some staff within URA who connived with car importers to register their cars without following the due process and costing Government billions of shillings in taxes.

Director of Operations at the Uganda Police Haruna Isabirye whose motor vehicle registration number UAY  173D, a Toyota Corona and city businessman Jackson Akin Pemba whose vehicle a BMW registered in his names SKPemba are among those listed in the notice.

Others include, Francis Kimbowa’s Land Cruiser registration number UAX 818Y, Umar Tumusiime’s  BMWX6 UAX 115P, James Bantu’s Land Cruisers number UAX 818Q and UAX 672Q among others

Speaking to New Vision, Pemba said he had been contacted but blamed his agent.

“I made all my payments through my agent. But I was told he never made the payments. I have been contacted about the matter. I am out of the country but when I come back will go to URA and try to find out how much they are demanding,” Pemba said.

olice irector of perations aruna sabirye iggundu hoto by ichard anya Police Director of Operations Haruna Isabirye Kiggundu. Photo by Richard Sanya

 

The directive to recall the cars follows a similar one in Kenya last week where the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) recalled over 100 cars that had not been properly registered. The owners were required to present the vehicles together with the original ownership, transfer and importation documents to the commissioner of investigation and enforcement, for verification.

Even though officials at URA remained tightlipped on the nature and scope of the investigations that they were conducting, a highly placed source at the tax authority said that a number of officers at the URA motor vehicle registration unit had been placed under investigations following the scam.

This would not be the first time such an incident is reported at the Tax registration body and in particular in the same section in cases involving car registration.

The Auditor General in his 2012/13 report indicated that fraud in vehicle registration has continued, unabated in Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), perpetrated by some unscrupulous staff and their agents.

In his report the Auditor General indicates some of the staff and agents tampered with the registration process leading to number plate scams where in some of the cases individuals shared the registration number with someone else or worse still,  the number plate of the car you are driving might belong to a tractor or a grader.

Sources also said that some of the cars were registered fraudulently without paying taxes, through hacking the URA database.

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