URA Penalises Fraudulent Clearing Agent for False Declaration while 28 VAT Fraudsters in Court on Charges of Filing Fictitious Tax Returns
KAMPALA - As URA continues to hunt for tax evaders around the country, Mr. Ahmed Kasule, a renowned director of Kasuline Limited fell prey to the operations following information that he had knowingly and fraudulently registered a motor vehicle in 2018 with intention to reduce his tax liability.
Mr. Denis Kugonza - Commissioner of Tax Investigations at URA notes that the vehicle in question is a Mercedes Benz flatbed that was initially registered in the names of Peter Celestine Uwimana but was fraudulently cleared by Kasule Ahmed as the clearing firm.
The crime for which he was convicted involved alteration of the vehicle’s chassis number and year of manufacture from WDA9HDAB7FL934954 to WDA9HDAB7NL934954 which ultimately resulted into registering the vehicle as a 1992 model yet it was a 2015 model based on its actual chassis number. To be specific, the change occurred by replacing letter ‘F’ with ‘N’ in the vehicle chasis and thus committing an offence according to the tax laws of Uganda. It is reported that Kasule’s fraudulent actions led to under-declaration of taxes by UGX. 40,253,293 whereby the clearing firm subsequently paid only UGX. 11,723,373 instead of the actual tax of UGX. 51,985,671.
Upon conclusion of URA’s investigation into the matter, Kasule Ahmed was found guilty on two counts by the Anti-Corruption Court for making false declarations and fraudulent evasion of the payment of duty under Sections 203(b) and 203(e), of the East African Community Customs Management Act, 2004.
To that effect, he was fined USD. 1,000 while his associate, Peter Celestine Uwimana was fined USD. 3,000 and also ordered to pay a top up tax of UGX. 40,253,293 to make good the tax loss occasioned.
However, according to anonymous sources, it has been brought to our knowledge that a number of these motor vehicle fraud schemes that URA has cracked in the recent past, are master minded by a one Mubuya Ronald Billy who is currently on the run. The tax authority, therefore encourages anyone with credible information of his whereabouts to come forward and report to URA.
The chief investigator emphasizes that “URA will guarantee you confidentiality and safety whereby your identity will remain anonymous. This is because the information that is provided information will be crucial in deterring any future related cases of motor vehicle fraud.”
Meanwhile, 28 VAT Fraudsters in Court on Charges of Filing Fictitious Tax Returns
After analysing information that was received about a suspected tax fraud scheme that involves companies dealing in fictitious VAT returns, URA’s intelligence team embarked on a hunt to prove the truthfulness of the allegation.
When we contacted URA’s Ag. Commissioner Tax Investigations, it was confirmed that the team was able to establish a number of companies that had falsely claimed purchases from Hokmah International Limited -- a company that deals in plastic products.
Upon further investigations, according to our other anonymous sources at URA, more details emerged indicating that it was the company’s auditor – Mr. Mugoya Saad who had filed and declared fictitious VAT returns to include false transactions of building materials which the company does not deal in. It was established that 28 taxpayers falsely claimed Input VAT worth UGX 1.7 Billion in relation to purchases made from Hokmah International Limited. The case was referred to the Anti-Corruption Court where the directors of beneficiaries are being charged on grounds of making false or misleading statements according to Section.58 of the Tax Procedures Code Act, 2014.
Under the amended Tax Procedures Code Act (2022), any taxpayer who is found guilty of making false or misleading statements to URA, is fined UGX. 110M. the fine was increased from UGX. 4,000,000 from the previous financial year. Therefore, given the weight of the revised custodial sentences and fines in the new tax amendments of this Financial Year, taxpayers are encouraged to desist from any form of tax fraud.