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    Mafabi Alerts IGP Ochola To Stop Special Delegates Conference Organised By Birigwa And Dr. Besigye Camp…



    FDC SG Nandala Mafabi (L) with Dr. Kizza Besigye (R)

    Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) Secretary General (SG) Nathan Nandala Mafabi has alerted the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Martin Okoth Ochola over the ongoing preparation for the party’s special delegates conference summoned by the party chairperson Ambassador Wasswa Birigwa.

    In a letter dated, 28th August, 2023, Mafabi noted that the party leadership has learnt about the ongoing advertisement notice calling for extra-ordinary National Delegates Conference which is set to take place on 19th September, 2023.

    “This is to inform you that the said notice was issued without knowledge of the party structures, party president, secretary general and treasury yet on 28th July, 2023, National Council passed a resolution to conclude structured elections. This notice is therefore illegal, ultra vires, and unplanned for and will cause a liability by third party claims to be the party,” the letter reads in parts.

    He further noted that the National Executive Committee members’ term of office is expiring on 07th October, 2023 and accordingly the newly elected District party Chairpersons will chair District Executives and District Conferences. He explained that the term of the old party leadership expired the day the internal party elections kicked off last month.

    He added that the party accordingly will submit the new National Executive Committee (NEC) at the delegates meeting of 06th October 2023 solely for election of the National Executive Committee.

    However, Kampala city Lord Mayor who also doubles as the party national vice president in charge of Buganda insists that the September 19th extra-ordinary delegates conference will take place because it was summoned by the party chairperson Birigwa to help resolve the ongoing misunderstanding in their party.

    Lukwago maintained that they are kicking off their national political mobilization tour on Friday with the aim of briefing their party members about the illegalities being carried out in their party.

    He insisted that the mobilization drive is going to start from Acholi and they will tour the entire country.

    He strongly denied the ongoing allegations that some of their senior members participated in the party internal elections which was organised by the party leadership led by Mafabi and declared it illegal.


    By Sandra Mukisa



    Mayiga In Panic Over M7’s Planned Invitation To Visit Bulange To Celebrate Shs10bn Deal He Sealed With Buganda Clan Heads…



    Maverick Buganda Kingdom Premier Charles Peter Mayiga is panicking after President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni finalized plans to visit Bulange Mengo to celebrate the Shs10bn deal he sealed with Buganda clan heads last month.

    The mighty Grapevine exclusively revealed that Buganda clan heads through Joyce Nabbosa Ssebugwawo the State Minister for Information Communication and Technology have written to President Museveni asking him to accept their invitation to officially hand over the 2 acres piece of land he bought for them to transform their economic status and livelihood.

    Highly placed sources in Buganda clan heads council intimated to theGrapevine that the decision to invite the president was reached after the clan heads received the land title which is going to be registered in the names of their private company.

    Sources said that last week, a section of Buganda clan heads led by; Samson Nabimba Lukabyo, the head of Kinyomo clan and Sam Lubega Magandazi, the head of Ngabi clan met the retired Archbishop of the SDA Church Pastor Dr. John Kakembo at his home who handed over the land title to them which is going to be transferred into the names of Abataka trust company.

    Sources divulged that Kakembo gave them all the required documents they needed to transfer the land title and signed for them the transfer forms which they gave to their lawyers to proceed with the process of transferring the land title.

    Sources added that the council of clan heads has managed to re-register their Abataka trust company which was deregistered by the Uganda Registration Bureau (URSB) for not fulfilling the requirements including filing the annual returns.

    The new appointed directors include Mayiga’s blue eyed boy Omutaka Augustine Kizito Mutumba, the head of Kobbe clan and the speaker of the Buganda clan heads council.

    The process to take possession of the land was concluded and the land was leveled and very soon before the end of this week, minister Ssebugwawo is going to inspect the land.

    Afterwards, they will organise prayers thanking the president for the gift and the Archbishop of the Anglican Church, Dr. Stephen Kazimba Mugalu is expected to lead prayers in the presence of President Museveni as the guest of honour.

    Sources added that the clan heads wish to meet their boss Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II, the Kabaka of Buganda who has been out of the country tomorrow receiving medical attention.

    “Our executive(Buganda clan heads) promised us that when they meet Mayiga to discuss strategies on how to solve the differences which he created with us, he told them that Kabaka Mutebi, the head of our council, is ready to meet us.

    When it happens, it will be a miracle because we know, the same people who promised that we will meet the Kabaka have been the one preventing us from meeting him for over ten years now,” one of the clan heads said.

    He added that the reason why they wanted to meet the Kabaka is to show him the gift president Museveni gave to them and also ask him to accept their invitation to attend the ceremony where they will be officially receiving their land from the president before the end of this year.

    However, it should be remembered that Mayiga told Buganda parliament that Kabaka was not informed about the meeting between Buganda clan heads and Museveni.

    Mayiga disclosed that such uncoordinated movement of troops is aimed at dividing Buganda Kingdom leadership which he vowed not to accept.

    Buganda Kingdom spokesperson Isreal Kitooke Kazibwe last week, confirmed to theGrapevine that a select committee was established to lead mediations between Mayiga and the clan heads.

    Sources claim that he is set to meet clan heads one by one and talk to them to establish their grievances. The report on the findings will be fundamental during their meeting with Kabaka.


    By Sengooba Alirabaki


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    BBS TV Top Boss To Faceoff With Fired Kabaka Minister For Busiro South MP Seat To Oust NUP’s Matovu…



    L-R: Dunstan Busuulwa, Ssekabembe and MP Charles Matovu

    Buganda Broadcasting Service (BBS) Chief Operations Officer Dunstan Busulwa is set to faceoff with National Unity Platform’s Charles Matovu the current Busiro South legislator come 2026.

    Busulwa confirmed that he is going to contest for the said parliamentary seat with sources close to him revealing to theGrapevine that he is going to contest on National Resistance Movement (NRM) ticket.

    In 2016 parliamentary election, Peter Ssematimba defeated Busulwa to win the NRM ticket, Busulwa stood as an independent and was defeated.

    In 2021, he declined to contest even though he was asked by his supporters to stand.

    However, sources close to him told this website that what scared him was Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu’s NUP political wave which swept the entire Buganda region.

    Sources disclosed that Busulwa’s decision to stand again is as a result of the political base he has built in the constituency using his ‘Amaaso ku Ggwanga’ weekly political talk show on BBS where he hosts panelists including the master of social, political and economic artificial theories Charles Rwomushana.

    Busulwa has also accumulated some money which he hopes will help him during the political campaigns and he is expecting a lot of support from his god mother Lt. Gen. Proscovia Nalweyiso, the senior presidential advisor on defense and security.

    Busulwa is also a close friend to Buganda premier Charles Peter Mayiga and was nearly set to be deployed to Kabaka’s Central Broadcasting Service (CBS) radio to host the popular talk show ‘Kiriza oba gana’ and ‘palamenti yaffe’ every Saturday which is currently being hosted by celebrated journalist Meddie Nsereko Ssebuliba.

    Ssebuliba was saved by his godfather Gen. Salim Saleh, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni’s young brother and also the head of Operation Wealth Creation.

    Busulwa is also expected to use his closeness to president Museveni’s blue eyed girl Hajjat Hadijja Namyalo, the head of the NRM Office of National Chairperson.

    Sources in the constituency told theGrapevine that Busulwa has to be prepared because he is going to face off with owekitiibwa Moses Kiberu Ssekabembe, Kabaka’s former minister in charge of sports and youths.

    Ssekabembe is expected to contest on NUP ticket even though he is said to be in bed with top NRM handlers like Namyalo and has friends in Gen. Muhoozi Kainerugaba’s MK Movement.

    Sources confirmed to theGrapevine that the incumbent legislator Matovu has few chances of retaining the said seat and a number of voters are regretting why they voted him because he has done nothing to help his voter since he went to parliament.

    Matovu is also accused of not being in good books with NUP’s principal Bobi Wine and is always having confrontations with Bobi Wine’s barking dogs, the foot soldiers.

    It is not clear whether Ssematimba the proprietor of radio Super is coming back to reclaim his seat after being defeated in 2021.


    By Grapevine Reporters


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    How Rujoki’s URA Floored Airtel In Shs1.5bn Tax Debt Legal War…



    URA boss John Musinguzi Rujoki (L) and Aitrel's Manoj Murali (R)

    In a unanimous judgment, five justices of the Supreme Court lead by Chief Justice Alofonse Owiny-Dollo, and other justices on the panel who included; justice Faith Mwondha, Justice Mike Chibita, Justice Elizabeth Musoke and Justice Stephen Musota, court allowed the Shs1.5bn appeal filed by John Musinguzi Rujoki’s Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) against Airtel Uganda.

    In the lead judgment, Justice Musoke declared that it was wrong for the Court of Appeal justices to refund Shs1.5bn collected as taxes from Airtel which resulted from an overturned judgment at the Commercial Division of the High Court which dismissed Airtel’s petition.

    Justice Musoke agreed with URA lawyers led by Ronald Masamba Baluku, Barbra Ajambo Nahone, Aliddeki Ssali Alex and Agaba Edmond that Celtel Uganda, which Airtel Uganda bought in 2010 defaulted their tax obligation which led to the Shs1.5bn Court battle.

    It all started on 26th February, 2004, when URA served Celtel tax assessment consisting of excise duty, Value Added Tax (VAT) and penal tax amounting to Shs.1,024,209,566. The outstanding tax had been arrived at following an audit by URA into Celtel’s tax affairs.

    Celtel accepted liability in relation to only part of the tax debt and disputed the other part. The disputed tax debt consisted of VAT in amounts of Shs.358,652,4581 and penal tax of Shs.253, 61,6601 which led to a total of Shs.611,814,118.

    According to Court records, Celtel lodged objections against the tax debt in the Tax Appeals Tribunal.

    The record further reveals that before filing of the suit, Celtel, in accordance with the law, paid 300% of the tax debt, in the amount of Shs.183,544,2351 which was dismissed.

    Celtel filed another appeal in the Commercial Division of the High Court which was also dismissed by Justice Geoffrey Kiryabwire.

    In 2010, Airtel acquired the assets and assumed the liabilities of Celtel including the tax debt which was under Court contestation and opted to pay the unpaid balance left by Celtel  which amounted to Shs. 428,269,883.

    However, URA informed Airtel that during the pendency of the tax objection proceedings, the unpaid tax had been accruing interest and that its tax liability had increased to Shs. 1,555,836,915 which Airtel protested.

    Airtel however paid the amount as assessed by URA but reserved its right to challenge the validity of the assessment in Courts of law.

    They lost at the High Court but won at the Court of Appeal.

    URA challenged the decision of the Court of Appeal at the Supreme Court insisting that Justices of the Court of Appeal erred in law and facts and they wanted the Supreme Court justices to answer the key question of whether the Court of Appeal gave the correct import of Section 65 (3) of the Value Added Act, Cap. 349 (VATA) and other applicable provisions in so far as they applied to the penal tax assessed on Airtel.

    “A person who  fails to pay tax imposed under this Act on or before the due date is liable to pay a penal tax on the unpaid tax at a rate specified in the Fifth Schedule for the tax which is outstanding,” the URA lawyers stated in their submissions.

    They added that the Fifth Schedule to the VATA stipulates that the penal tax payable under Section 65 (3) shall take the form of interest, and the rate of interest chargeable as penalty shall be 2% per month.

    The lawyers added that Section 65 (3) of the VATA is applicable whenever a person fails to pay VAT tax, by the due date which under Section 34A of the VATA and is what they applied in the matter which was before the court.

    He noted that the provision is aimed at penalizing a person who fails to remit VAT tax by the due date insisting that the Justices of the Court of Appeal erred when they declared that the penal tax imposed under Section 65 (3) is suspended once Airtel objects to the assessment.

    Lawyers further noted that the Justices of the Court of Appeal erred by carrying out a constitutional interpretation exercise in its judgment yet it was not sitting as a Constitutional Court but it was sitting as a Court of Appeal and was determining an ordinary appeal thus they ought not to have based on Article 44 (c) to read a meaning into Section 65 (3) of the Constitution.

    The lawyers accused the justices of the Court of Appeal of erring when they disclosed that Article 44 (c) insulated the defaulting tax payer from the penal tax under Section 65 (3) and emphasized that Article 44 (c) which provides for access to courts had no bearing on the matter before court as imposition of a penal tax did not prevent access to courts which is the right guaranteed under Article 44 (c).

    However, Airtel lawyers led by Counsel Albert Byamugisha supported the decision of the Court of Appeal noting that they gave the correct view on the position of the law which is that a person who objects to a tax assessment is not liable to penal tax under Section 65 (3) of the VATA.

    He added that Section 65 (3) imposes criminal liability on a person who fails to pay VAT by the due date explaining that a person who lodges an objection in the Tax Appeals Tribunal (TAT) does not attract such liability.

    He explained that proceedings in the TAT are permitted under Section 14 and 15 (1) of the Tax Appeals Tribunal Act, Cap. 345 (TAT Act) in connection to Section 14 which states, “Any person who is aggrieved by a decision made under a taxing Act by the URA may apply to the tribunal for a review of the decision. A taxpayer who has lodged a notice of objection to an assessment shall, pending final resolution of the objection, pay 30 percent of the tax assessed or that part of the tax assessed not in dispute, whichever is greater.”

    In her assessment, Justice Musoke noted that the tax in issue before the Supreme Court fell under Section 34 (1) (b) because it was assessed on Celtel in accordance with the provision of the law and the tax was assessed following a tax audit by URA in which it was discovered that Celtel had not been remitting VAT in relation to certain taxable supplies for the period April 2000 to July 2003.

    She added that in the first place, a taxpayer is, under Section 31 of the VATA, obliged to lodge a tax return with the Commissioner General for each tax period within fifteen days after the end of the period.

    It is only after the taxpayer has defaulted on voluntarily lodging a tax return that the Commissioner General is, under Section 32 of the VATA, empowered to make and serve an assessment on the taxpayer.

    She found out that Celtel defaulted on its obligation to timely file tax returns in relation to the VAT, and as a result, the Commissioner General made and served a tax assessment on it in accordance with the law.

    She explained that in those circumstances, Celtel was already a tax defaulter for failing to file tax returns in accordance with the law and Celtel failed to pay the tax on the date of 26th February, 2004 when it was filed with an assessment, it was also a defaulter from that date.

    “It therefore follows that the Court of Appeal erred when it ordered a refund of Shs 1,555,836,915 paid by the respondent as unpaid VAT and penal tax thereon that accrued during the pendency of tax objection proceedings instituted by the respondent. The respondent is not entitled to a refund of the said money. It will be noted that the VATA imposes a penal tax where a taxpayer defaults in paying tax on or before the due date,” she ruled.

    She further dismissed Airtel’s cross appeal challenging the decision of the Court of Appeal directing URA to return the said Shs1.5bn with interest.


    By Sengooba Alirabaki


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