Bobi asks court to block URA bid to recall his car 

Tuesday March 02 2021
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Supporters of former presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi, alias Bobi Wine, wash his car at their party offices in Kamwokya, Kampala on February 22. PHOTO | ABUBAKER LUBOWA

By Juliet Kigongo
By Anthony Wesaka

Former presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi, aka Bobi Wine, has run to the High Court to block Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) from recalling his bullet-proof car for fresh tax reassessment.

In his suit filed last evening, the musician-turned politician contends that URA does not have powers to recall his vehicle that has already passed through their hands and cleared all the customs requirements.

He says the tax body has made continuous verbal threats to impound his car, depriving him of his right to enjoy possession of his property. Mr Kyagulanyi says the vehicle was donated to him by his fans in the diaspora.

“The plaintiff [Mr Kyagulanyi] avers and contends that the defendant (URA) does not have any powers to arbitrarily call for, threaten to impound the plaintiff’s car Registration No. UBJ 667 F (Toyota Land Cruiser V8) for re-examination under Section 236 (d) of the East African Community Customs Management Act,” Mr Kyagulanyi states in his petition.

“The plaintiff [Mr Kyagulanyi] also avers that the defendant [URA] has no legal backing whatsoever to call for the plaintiff’s vehicle as he did in the said letter of February 24, 2021,” he further states in the suit.

URA says

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On February 24, URA wrote to Mr Kyagulanyi stating that his vehicle had been cleared as an ordinary car without knowing that it was bullet proof and therefore there was need to have it recalled for tax re-evaluation.

“An inquiry has been conducted into the circumstances under which motor vehicle Toyota Land Cruiser Registration No. UBJ 667F…. was cleared and subsequently registered. Our findings reveal, among others, that the above mentioned vehicle was declared to Customs as an ordinary motor vehicle instead of an armoured motor vehicle, the implication of which is that the vehicle was undervalued at Shs157m,” URA’s letter to Mr Kyagulanyi reads in part. 

“In accordance with Section 236 (d) of the East African Community Customs Management Act 2004 as amended, you are required to voluntarily bring the above mentioned motor vehicle to URA Nakawa Inland port for the re-verification process not later than 3pm of February 26 without fail,” URA further wrote.

The vehicle is not armoured, but bullet proof.

However, Mr Kyagulanyi through his lawyers Wameli & Co. Advocates, wrote back to URA telling the tax collectors that they do not have powers to recall goods that have left their hands.  

“Much as it is true that you have the powers under Section 236 (d) of the EAC Customs Management Act to examine goods, you do not have automatic powers to re-examine goods which were in your custody (warehouse), examined, assessed to tax, the tax fully paid and the goods released to the owner/tax payer,” Mr Kyagulanyi’s lawyers rebutted.

“Your decision to recall our client’s motor vehicle is not only arbitrary and without legal basis but it is also a threat to our client’s right to property and privacy. This is therefore to demand that you immediately withdraw your decision to recall our client’s motor vehicle,” the lawyers further stated.

Further in his suit, the runner-up in the January 14 presidential polls, avers that his life and properties have always been a target by government.

He says security has since confiscated or impounded majority of his property including his Tundra car (UAT 416T, which he says is still at Arua Central Police Station since the Arua Municipality parliamentary by-election chaos in 2018.

Other properties

“All the other motor vehicles of the plaintiff have either been damaged, destroyed and made un-road worthy by the government security agencies. As a result of the threat to his life and the need to have a means of transport, the plaintiff acquired the subject motor vehicle in January 2021,” the lawyers added in the court documents.

Mr Kyagulanyi wants court to issue a permanent injunction against URA or its agents from recalling or impounding his  car for tax re-evaluation.

Court will summon URA to file its defence and thereafter set a hearing date.




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