The clearing agent who handled Robert Kyagulanyi’s vehicle, which is said to be bullet proof, has said he cleared the car after due inspections by Uganda Revenue Authority (URA).
The clearing agent, only identified as Cranimer, told Daily Monitor yesterday that URA officials found that the vehicle had not been stolen and all the documents presented were authentic.
After Mr Kyagulanyi wrote on his Facebook page that he had acquired a bullet-proof car on Sunday , there has been speculation and anxiety in both government and the public, putting URA on pressure to explain how the former presidential candidate acquired the car.
Sources say security operatives tasked both URA and Realtime Global Cargo Handlers Uganda, a clearing firm, to explain how they cleared the car.
On Monday, Mr Abel Kagumire, the commissioner for customs, was forced to explain how the vehicle was cleared after security operatives reportedly put the Commissioner General on pressure to explain why and how they cleared the car.
By yesterday evening, there was also information that due to pressure from security, URA was considering recalling Mr Kyagulanyi’s car for tax reassessment and implicate him in tax evasion. But this claim could not be independently verified.
Asked the kind of vehicle he cleared, Cranimer said: “I am not in position to answer that at the moment. Secondly, I have never been in the army or police. I just cleared a vehicle based on the information from URA, so anything related to that I am not a party to answering it.”
He added: “I have not been contacted by anyone whether a security officer or any other person. But if they contact me, I will be available to explain how I cleared the car.”
According to URA, the vehicle entered Uganda from Kenya through Busia border on November 5, 2020, registered under licence plates KCY550X logbook number K3323207K belonging to Mr Fauz Khalid, a Kenyan. It was issued a certificate for temporary import.
The Uganda customs and excise cargo receipt indicates that the car was handed over to Yuasa by one Marion Alukudo in November 2020.
It is not clear under what condition the car was released to Yuasa and what role they had in its importation.
Yuasa deals in importation of used cars from Japan. We were unable to reach the company officials to explain their role in the importation of the car.
On the Interpol certificate of verification, the date on which the import certificate was issued is January 6, 2020 and URA acknowledges receipt of the certificate on January 11, 2021.
Mr Charles Birungi, the acting director of Interpol Uganda, on Wednesday said: “I am not the one who signed that letter and I first need to cross check then I will get back to you. It is true that the letter bears my name, but another officer signed it so I have to check whether the letter is forged or there is a problem with writing the date.”
He promised to get back to us but by press time he had not.
On November 19, 2020, Khalid signed an importation declaration form at Busia border post stating that he was the rightful owner of the car and the declaration was verified by Juliet Tuhirirwe, an officer of URA at the customs office.
He also signed that if he transferred the vehicle to another person, he would pay all the mandatory taxes to the government of Uganda.
On January 12, 2021, Mr Alexander Nyakahuma, the URA supervisor for warehousing sector B, wrote to Mr Khalid, informing him that he had been granted permission to register the car after paying the relevant taxes.
“We are glad to inform you that you have been granted permission to register the motor vehicle on payment of relevant taxes and fees as per set customs clearance procedures. You are therefore advised to engage services of a licensed customs clearing agent for preparation of tax payment and registration documents. By copy of this letter, Supervisor’s Document Processing Centre Headquarters Services Offices and In-charge customs warehouse are duly notified to facilitate you accordingly,” Nyakahuma wrote.
Upon presentation of this letter, Realtime Global Cargo Handlers Uganda computed the taxes and cleared the vehicle. On January 12, 2021, the clearing firm assessed the vehicle and Khalid paid Shs88.6m in taxes.
Mr Khalid applied to change ownership on February18, 2021 to Mr Robert Kyagulanyi which was approved by the licensing office.
It is not clear why security is now interested in the vehicle since there is no law in the country that bars a civilian from owning a bullet-proof car.
IGG weighs in
The Inspector General of Government on Tuesday said Mr Kyagulanyi should declare whether the vehicle is a donation or one of his assets.
Ms Annet Twine, the director of the Leadership Code in IGG office, told journalists during a breakfast meeting that like all other leaders, Mr Kyagulanyi, who is a political party president and Member of Parliament, is required under the Leadership Code Act to declare his wealth.
“He still has time to make a declaration. Under Section 10 of the Leadership Code Act, when you receive a gift in the course of your duties, you have to declare it. We shall wait until he submits his declaration and see how he explains how he got it,” she said, adding that if it is a donation, there is a provision for him to explain how he came to own and it can be verified.