Suspect taken Into custody for forgery of Digital Tax stamps - East Africa Revenue Authorities
He was incarcerated for operating an illegal business and counterfeiting of ambiance waragi gin. Bulegeya’s operation stretched throughout Nansana and to adjacent towns.
KAMPALA - As a precursor to the 50th East African Revenue Authorities Commissioners General Meeting, the EARA Commissioners of Tax Investigation are having a 2 days dialogue to share experiences, emerging trends in mitigating IFFs and more. Kenya Revenue Authority says their commitment to regional integration and economic cooperation remains steadfast, as they engage with fellow East African Revenue Authorities at the 50th Commissioners General Meeting.
Meanwhile, a one Bulegeya Joshua was taken into custody during a joint intelligence operation with police led by Uganda Revenue Authority on businesses suspected to be involved in forgery of Digital Tax Stamps (DTS) on gazetted products. He was incarcerated for operating an illegal business and counterfeiting of ambiance waragi gin. Bulegeya’s operation stretched throughout Nansana and to adjacent towns.
“The alert on the tax fraud scheme was as a result of a lodged complaint to Uganda Police by Mr. Kiyimba Joseph, the Managing Director of Ambiance Distillers Ltd,’’ revealed Mr Denis Kugonza, the URA Commissioner of Tax Investigations.
Mr. Kiyimba similarly informed URA about his concerns regarding the tax crimes being committed under his business name by Bulegeya who was affixing forged digital tax stamps on counterfeit ambiance waragi gin packed in 200ml plastic bottles.
URA submitted the seized samples to its science laboratory for forensic examination to ascertain the validity of the digital tax stamps in contention. Indeed, as suspected, the results indicated that the digital tax stamps were forged and the products were counterfeit.
The suspect appeared before the Anti-Corruption court and remanded to Luzira prison on two counts of forgery of a stamp contrary to section 350(a) of the Penal Code Act, CAP 120 and being in possession of a forged tax stamp contrary to Section 62nd of the Tax Procedures Code (Amendment) Act 2022 as amended.
To avoid similar consequences, URA encourages all manufacturers and importers of DTS-gazetted products to always comply with the requirements of the tax laws which creates a level ground for all players. Taxpayers are also implored to always alert URA whenever they have information about businesses they suspect of counterfeiting and forging digital tax stamps.
The use of Digital Tax Stamps was rolled out in 2019 as a requirement for excisable products whether produced locally or imported in Uganda. These products currently include beer, soda, bottled water, wines, spirits, tobacco products, sugar, cement, cooking oil, juices, alcoholic, non-alcoholic and fermented beverages.
One of the benefits of Digital Tax Stamps to registered taxpayers is that it reduces unfair competition that comes with the counterfeiting of products. Therefore, those who deal in the listed products are encouraged by URA to register for Excise Duty and to enroll for the Digital Tracking Solution through the URA web portal.