The State witness in the loss of pension in Uganda fears to come to court. The Judge is not happy about it:

Prison warders escort former Public Service permanent secretary Jimmy

Prison warders escort former Public Service permanent secretary Jimmy Lwamafa (R) and former Principal Accountant Christopher Obey (L) to the Anti-Corruption Court for a hearing of their case recently. PHOTO BY DOMINIC BUKENYA

By BETTY NDAGIRE


Posted  Tuesday, December 22   2015 

Kampala, UGANDA:

The Anti-Corruption Court Judge Lawrence Gidudu yesterday expressed dissatisfaction over the State’s failure to present a witness to testify against key suspects in the Shs88 billion pension scam.

The suspects include former permanent secretary in the ministry of Public Service Jimmy Lwamafa, former Principal Accountant Christopher Obey, and former director research and development Stephen Kiwanuka Kunsa.

Hearing of their case was set to proceed with submission by the acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Public Service, Ms Adah Kabarokole Muwanga, but she failed to show up before court on grounds that she was unwell.

This is the second time she failed to show up.

This second instance annoyed Justice Gidudu who proposed they deal with her (Muwanga’s) testimony, saying her absence was a sign that she might never appear.

However, the prosecutor, Ms Ms Barbra Kawuma, pleaded with court to avail her another chance to be heard, arguing that Ms Muwanga’s evidence is crucial for their case and being a civil servant, she has obligation to show up to testify and court should be granted another chance.

Postponement

Consequently, the judge allowed prosecution until January 8, 2016, and threatened to reconsider releasing the suspects on bail.

Justice Gidudu explained that in criminal law, when suspects are on remand, their trial should be speeded and that if the prosecution is continuously dragging its feet, then he will be obliged to release the suspects on bail.

Currently, prosecution is left with six witnesses who should testify before the end of February 2016, for court to rule on whether, the suspects have a case to answer.

The suspects have been on remand since August this year and two different judges have on two different occasions, denied to release the suspects on bail, agreeing with the prosecution that once out of jail, they will jeopardise investigations like they did in the initial pension case of Shs165 billion that was dismissed.

The trio is accused of fraudulently budgeting for over Shs88 billion of civil servants’ pension contribution to National Social Security Fund (NSSF) well knowing that civil servants don’t contribute to NSSF.


bndagire@ug.

nationmdia.com

Sidney Asubo is the Financial Intelligence Authority ED


Uganda’s Financial Intelligence Authority has formally begun preliminary investigations that will dig up details of the 57 people linked to Uganda, with secret accounts in HSBC, a Swiss bank.

Speaking to The Observer yesterday, Sydney Asubo, the FIA executive director, said the investigations will look into who these people are, how they are linked to Uganda, and if they are hiding illicit money.

Asubo added that while it is not illegal to have foreign bank accounts, the money laundering law empowers FIA to investigate any suspicious money. Early this month, HSBC’s secret files of over 100,000 clients were leaked to French authorities who also distributed them to different media outlets.

The leaked files reveal that 57 out of the 100, 000 clients have links to Uganda, and they hold a stash of $89.3 million (about  Shs 255.6bn) in the bank. One of the clients, whose association with Uganda is closer, has about $8.8m (about Shs 25.1bn).

Details from the leaked files show that 212 bank accounts were opened by people with links to Uganda, of which 83 accounts were opened between 1972 and 2006, and 50 of those accounts were active in 2006, which was an election year.

“We have to find all the illicit money wherever it is, whether within Uganda or out of Uganda,” he said, adding that in case it is discovered that the money is illicit, any individual or institution responsible will face the law.

Asked about the status of the inquiry, Asubo said they were in the preliminary stages of the investigations.

“We have written to Swiss authorities and we hope to update you if any substantial details are found,” he said. FIA will be assisted by other state organs such as the external security organisation and police.

In 2012, Parliament established an inquiry into allegations that senior government officials had received bribes from oil companies to swing oil contracts in the bribers’ favour. In its report to Parliament, the probe team said it could not pin the government officials because the countries, Switzerland inclusive, where the accounts of the said transactions took place, refused to cooperate with the team.


skakaire@

observer.ug


Commissioner for Land Registration department Sarah Kulata

The commissioner for Land Registration department, Sarah Kulata has denied responsibility in the Shs 26bn loss made by government in the fraudulent compensation of more than 180 people alleged to own land in wetlands and forest reserves.


In 2013, people were issued with land tittles and later compensated by the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA). Evidence before the commission of inquiry into mismanagement, abuse of office and corrupt practices in UNRA; indicates that the land registration department went ahead to issue land tittles in wetland and forest reserves without consultation with environmental body, NEEMA or the National Forest Authority (NFA) who are legally the custodians of wetlands and forest reserves respectively.


Kulata however told the commission on Friday while being interrogated by the lead counsel Andrew Kasirye that the role of her office was recording land titles as issued by the district Land boards and thus the blame should be put on the district land officials at Wakiso.


"The people who collected the money should pay it back. My lord, commissioners I earlier stated that the controlling authority is the owner of the land. [in] land registration, the registrar is at the tail end of the process of titling. Squarely put the blame on the district land board, the controlling authority", she said.

Kasirye interjected asking: "What is the purpose of having a registrar? A registrar is skilled in matters of land law. Are you suggesting to this commission that being at the tail end, your officers are mere rubber-stamps. Should we recommend that we remove them?".

The 1995 constitution puts all wetlands and forest reserves in custody of government for the people of Uganda. A gazette notice was issued in February 2013 and most of the controversial land tittles were issued between March 2013 and December 2014.


The Legal Affairs director Christopher Gashirabaki had earlier informed the commission that following a gazette of land to be covered by roads, UNRA takes charge and no land tittles can be issued to the alleged owners. However, the Land Registration department went ahead to issue land tittles and leases in the said areas.


Among those given the leases and claimed compensation is Minister of Land, Housing Development Daudi Migereko for his land in Munyonyo. The Minister had in February written to all stakeholders halting further activities on the land. He is set to appear and give details to claims of influence peddling, ownership of illegal land tittles in the Express Highway land etc.


When asked if her department took dual diligence to verify the titles, Kaluta said "My lord, commissioners, land registration is a process where the department of land registration is at the tail end. There is another department of administration which does supervising, monitoring and guiding controlling authorities. I believe the department of land administration must have informed the controlling authority audibly."


Kulata is to appear again on Monday to answer on fraudulent compensation in the Hoima-Kaiso-Tonya road project as well as avail more details in relation to the Kampala Entebbe Express Highway compensation.

ABALOKOLE OKUKUNGANYA OMUSOLO KIZIBU NYO,----OBULAMU BWABWE KUFUBA KUGENDA MUGGULU

Posted on 11th November, 2014

 

                       This is the new boss of the Uganda Revenue Authority in Uganda

 

As the heat from the 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections starts to cool off, the taxman has realised a sh194b deficit for the first nine months and is coming to collect from small business owners. It’s time to buckle up.

Import and export volumes declined from January to March 2016 wiping away gains that had been registered in the first six months of the 2015/16 financial year. The Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) must now collect sh3.3 trillion in the next three months.

In efforts to collect the largest amount of taxes in URA’s history, Dickson Kateshumbwa, the acting Uganda Revenue Authourity (URA) Commissioner General has urged Ugandans to insist on receipts for all purchases; he explained that small business owners will be required to present copies of receipts issued and received during tax assessment.

The tax register had about 780,000 businesses at the end of August 2015 according to the URA. The taxman is looking to expand the tax register in efforts to finance Uganda’s ambitions of joining the league of first world nations by 2040.

The taxman has silently been mapping out small businesses such as bars, garages, the fishing community, hardware stores and maize mills around the country that may not require a TIN but should pay taxes to URA since 2015.

“We have undercover officials that are estimating the average revenues of small businesses by area, and street. We will then formulate tax brackets for them. By mid- October, our officers will be moving to collect taxes from them,” Jolly Kaguhangire, the URA assistant commissioner for service management revealed last year.

Henry Saka, the URA commissioner for domestic taxes added: “Many Ugandans simply open up businesses without being aware of their obligations such as paying for licenses and taxes. Sometimes, informal business owners wrongly assume that they are not supposed to pay taxes to the URA after they pay local government taxes.”

She noted that the project is expected to deliver taxes from at least 80,000 small businesses by the end of the financial year 2015/16. Though the informal sector employs between 70% and 80% of the total working force, its contribution to taxes is dismal.

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No one these days wants to retire employment. The elderly would rather work hard and drop dead on the job.
Omulanga. Abatambuze ba Kampala nemiriraano tusaba munaffe ono afunye omulimu guno ogwa URA akirize bus za Pioneer transport company zitandike nate okukola. Okusoloza omusolo tekuva mu bagagga bokka naye ne mu baavu.
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