The Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) has said Mr Robert Kyagulanyi’s vehicle, which is said to be bullet proof, was erroneously cleared.
Last week, Mr Kyagulanyi told his supporters that the car, a Toyota Land Cruiser V8 was acquired by local and foreign-based supporters after a fundraising drive, was armoured. This was after the URA had already cleared, registered and released it to him.
Now, URA says the details of the car were misrepresented and consequently, the car was under-valued.
“An enquiry has been conducted into the circumstances under which motor vehicle Toyota Land Cruiser Registration Number UBJ 667F was declared to customs vide reference UGCWH C54 dated 12th January 2021 was cleared and subsequently registered,” says a letter signed by URA Commissioner for Customs, Mr Abel Kagumire.
URA says that their findings reveal that among other things, the fact that it was an armoured car was not declared during the assessment.
“The above-mentioned motor 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 under-valued at 157,925,502/=,” writes Mr Kagumire.
This would mean the tax of about Shs88 million that Kyagulanyi was charged was less than what he would have paid, hence the decision to recall the car.
“Under 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 the URA Nakawa Inland Port to Undergo a re-verification process not later than 3.00 pm of 26th February 2021, without fail,” says the letter dated February 26, 2021.
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.
The URA recall of the vehicle did not go down well with Mr Kyagulanyi.
His lawyer, Mr Anthony Wameli said URA is acting outside the laws.
“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,” Mr Wameli wrote to URA.
“This is, therefore, to demand that you immediately withdraw your decision to recall our client’s motor vehicle, as long as such a decision is arbitrary and unsupported by any law,” the letter concludes.
URA Acting Assistant Commissioner Public and Corporate Affairs, Ian Rumanyika said there’s nothing new or extraordinary that URA is doing by recalling the car.
“We are currently investigating the issue under our usual practices.
“Re-Verification is a service that we offer it is a normal process,” Mr Rumanyika said.
An internet search shows that a new Toyota Land-Cruiser Vehicle costs from $85,000 (Shs 310m), while an armoured one goes for between S$395,000 and $450,000 (Shs 1.4 billion to Shs1.65 billion), depending on the features.