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    Mobile Money Agents Threaten To Abandon Business Over 1% Mobile Money Tax

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    Mobile money operators under their umbrella organization, Kampala mobile money dealers’ association are threatening to abandon this business if government insists on staying the newly introduced 1% tax on each transaction.

    According to the association leaders Lukyamuzi Matthias and Katumba Tom, mobile money dealers are going to leave the business if parliament fails to respect and listen to their plea and scrap this tax.

    Katumba added that the association has over two million people employed by this service especially the youth and if these people abandon this business, it will impact negatively on the country’s economy. He therefore called upon government to reverse the decision and have the tax scrapped.

    The association chairman Matthias Lukyamuzi warned that the people behind this tax want to fail government. He called upon the finance minister Matia Kasaijja, who he pinned for being the architect of this tax to resign as early as yesterday.

    “We can’t blame the members of parliament because they passed a bill that they did not understand because most of them have no accounts and mathematics books, they studied history, this time around, if the bill is called back to Parliament, they have to look at things critically before just voting for showbiz,” Lukyamuzi added.

    Kamyuka Ben, another member on the association leadership committee asked government to stop the tax immediately because many of their colleagues have closed shop and run out of the business.

     

    By Mboowa Nathan

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    MY MONEY

    Inside State House Meeting Where Rujoki’s URA Men Were Accused By Female Trader Before M7 Of Touching Their Breasts And Nyash  During Tax Collection…

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    President Museveni (L) and URA Commissioner General Musinguzi Rujoki (R)

    President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni was forced to direct Special Forces Command (SFC) detectives to with immediate effect kickoff investigations and report to him their findings concerning allegations that a number of male tax collectors sent by Uganda Revenue Authority Commissioner General John Musinguzi Rujoki sexually harass women during the exercise.

    Last week, Rujoki was accompanied by some of his staff who are enforcing the exercise of collecting tax from the city center to the State House to meet the president over the recent traders’ strike.

    President Museveni summoned the meeting to listen to both the traders and URA over the enforcement of the Electronic Fiscal Receipting and Invoicing System (EFRIS) and tempers were very high from all sides.

    Security in State House was on alert because of the sharp misunderstanding between traders, especially from those behind Dr. Thadeus Musoke Nagenda’s Kampala Capital Traders Association (KACITA) and David Kabanda’s Federation of Uganda Traders Association (FUTA).

    Both Kabanda and Musoke were fighting to make sure that their people are accredited to attend the meeting. The total number who took Covid-19 test were more than 200 and they all traveled to Entebbe State House to meet the president.

    By 10am, traders pitched camp at State House Entebbe gate prepared to give moral supporter to their respective leaders as they were arguing out their grievances against Rujoki’s URA before the President.

    However, they were surprised when State House security informed them that it will be only their leaders who will be allowed to enter.

    They tried to explain to the SFC Commandos how Kampala Senior Minister Hajjat Minsa Kabanda and her State Minister Joseph Christopher Kabuye Kyofatogabye assured them that they wereall going to meet Museveni and the only condition was to take Covid-19 test.

    “Many of us tried to make phone calls to minister Kabuye but he was not picking and Kabanda told us that she was still engaged with the President in Kitebi and she was not in position to talk to us, after that, she hung up,” one of the traders told Grapevine.

    Only 25 leaders were allowed to enter State House and others decided to camp in one of the compounds near State House waiting for the President. When he entered State House from Kitebi, he just waved at them.

    The meeting started by 10pm and a number of ministers whoincluded: Francis Mwebesa the senior trade minister, his deputy David Bahati, Evelyn Anite the state minister for finance in charge of investment, Kampala Minister Minsa Kabanda and other government officials.

    The traders were allowed first to submit their grievances against URA before the big man. However, KACITA suffered a setback when President Museveni wondered what they wanted from him because he had just met them a few days back and asked them to talk to the traders not to strike.

    Before the President finished his statement, Kabanda and his team clapped their hands in surprise wondering why Musoke and his team met the President secretly without informing them. Kabanda has his team immediately started accusing Musoke’s team of betraying the traders.

    The President then gave Musoke and Isa Ssekito the KACITA spokesperson the green light to continue with their submission.

    Meanwhile, Kabanda’s people were panicking fearing that their man (Kabanda) might fail to submit properly their issues before the president because their issues were in writing (and he struggles with reading documents) and he was supposed to follow the document since the President also had a copy.

    “Kabanda shocked all of us, we don’t where he got the confidence from because he was on spot and was even given a standing ovation,” a source who attended the meeting said.

    However, before Rujoki was given the opportunity to respond to the complaints made against him and his team, a one Doreen Nakirya was given a chance to also raise her complaint and the entire meeting was shocked when she reported to the President that Rujoki’s men in the field sexually harass them.

    One of the businessmen who attended the meeting told theGrapevine that Museveni was shocked, to the extent that when Nakirya talked about URA men sexually harassing female Traders, the President, who was writing every submission paused.

    He asked her whether she knew the names of the men who sexually harassed them because the NRM government does not believe and associate with men who don’t respect women.

    Nakirya told the president that Rujoki’s men touch and feel women trader’s bums, breasts and make sexual signs after waylaying them in their shops and sometimes their children and workers see them.

    While the president wasasking Rujoki to respond to the allegations, Nakirya pointed out a one Godfrey (who was also in the meeting) and a colleague.

    Immediately, the president directed SFC detectives to take both of them to record statements so that investigations can kick off.

    The president was also told that URA men have a vice of asking for bribes from them so as not to close their shops after accusing them of delaying to pay their taxes to URA.

    In his defense, Rujoki informed the President that URA on several occasions has always interacted with the business community and a number of trainings and workshops concerning EFRIS were carried out.

    One of the businessmen confirmed to theGrapevine that it is true URA has always conducted meetings and trainings with traders.

    The President was briefed that businessmen and women who are complaining have been hiding the correct record of sales they make every day.

    He gave examples with evidence that traders have two books, one which is submitted to URA and another one in which they record the actual sales which they don’t submit to URA.

    Fred Bamwine the Commissioner in the Office of the Presidency confirmed that nothing is going to change in the way URA collects taxes especially on EFRIS even if Museveni meets traders again in May at Kololo strip.

     

    By Sengooba Alirabaki

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    MY MONEY

    How City Businessman Sentongo Took First Win In The Shs10bn Legal War Against DTB Bank…

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    City businessman Haruna Sentongo the proprietor of Haruna Enterprises Uganda Limited is smiling from ear to ear after bagging the first win in the Shs10bn legal fight against Diamond Trust Bank (DTB) Uganda and Kenya branches respectively.

    Justice John Oscar Kihika of the Court of Appeal which also doubles as the Constitutional Court has issued a temporary injunction restraining the bank’s  agents, representatives, nominees assignees and/or successors in title from selling, transferring, alienating, evicting, dealing with and or in any way interfering with Sentongo’s interest and possession of the properties comprised in Block 12 Plots 538, 826 and 898 at Mengo until the determination of appeal against the the Commercial Division of the High Court Judgment.

    Sentongo through his lawyers lead by Commercial law giant Derrick Bazekuketta filed an application to the Court of Appeal alleging that his multibillion property is under a serious threat as banks have sent brokers to inspect the property with the suitable buyers claiming that it was available for sale on orders of the court.

    In his affidavit, guided by Bazekuketta, Sentongo pleaded to Court to stop the selling of his property insisting that his appeal is meritorious and he has higher chances of winning the appeal against the bank.

    He explained to the presiding justice at the Commercial Division of the High Court erred in law and in fact when he dismissed his entire case on technicality because he failed to honour his directive to fiIe trial bundle within the timelines he directed noting that to his surprise even the bank didn’t file the said trial bundle.

    He insisted that his failure was caused by the grant of an order for leave to amend his plaint and the subsequent pleadings.

    However, the bank through their lawyers led by Stephen Zimula protested the application relying on the affidavit of Emajeit Mbabazi. Zimula raised two preliminary points of law insisting that the application is incomplete before the Court of Appeal.

    In his submissions, Zimula told Court that the said application was supposed to be first filed in the High Court before proceeding to the Court of Appeal insisting that the Order issued by the High Court is a negative order that is not capable of being stayed.

    Counsel informed Court that the rule against issuing a stay order in respect to a negative order cannot be circumvented merely by terming the order sought as an injunction.

    In reply, armed with a number of authorities, Bazekuketta told Court that in an application for temporary injunction, it is not mandatory for the Applicant to first file the Application at the High Court noting that laws and rules allow him to rush to the Appellate Court directly.

    He also argued that his application before the said Court is one seeking for a temporary injunctive order and the same is validly before the court.

    He explained to the Court that his application is for a temporary injunction and not an order of stay of execution of a negative order.

    He pleaded with counsel Zimula to carefully revise his law books so that they help him not to confuse an application for stay of execution with an application for a temporary injunction.

    Justice Kihika agreed with counsel Bazekekutte’s submissions noting that it would not be possible for Sentongo to file an application for a temporary injunction in the High Court in the absence of a pending suit explaining that the only option available to him was to file the application before the Court of Appeal.

    “I therefore found that this application for a temporary injunction is properly before this court. The first preliminary point of law is thus over ruled,” the judge stated in his ruling.

    He further disagreed with counsel Zimula’s argument that Sentongo’s application is seeking a stay of a negative order of dismissal which is not capable of being stayed explaining that it is clear that the application seeks an order for a temporary injunction against the bank restraining its agents and other people working in the bank’s interest from interfering with his interest and possession of his properties comprised in Block 12 Plots 538, 826 and 898 at Mengo until the termination of the appeal.

    Justice Kihika explained that a temporary injunction is intended to maintain the status quo of things pending the determination by court of some serious cause pending before it.

    He noted that the granting of a temporary injunction is an exercise of judicial discretion and the purpose of granting it is to preserve the matters in the status quo until the question is investigated in the main suit and disposed of.

    He cited the conditions for the grant of a temporary injunction which include; the applicant must show a prima facie case with a probability of success and that such injunction will not normally be granted unless the applicant might otherwise suffer irreparable injury which would not adequately be compensated by an award of damages.

    He further stated that a temporary injunction can be issued and if Court is in doubt, it would decide an application on the balance of convenience. He added that a temporary injunction is granted so as to prevent the ends of justice from being defeated.

    On the issue of likelihood of success, Justice Kihika stated that Sentongo stated in his affidavit in support of his application that the appeal is meritorious, raises serious questions for determination of the Court of Appeal and has a high likelihood of success.

    He further agreed with Sentongo who stated that on 30th March, 2023, his matter came up for hearing and timelines were issued by the trial judge of the High Court on when to file witness statements, trial bundles and a joint scheduling memorandum.

    He added that On 14th April, Sentongo filed his witness statement and on 18th he applied for leave to amend the plaint, which leave was granted.

    Following the grant of his application, an amended plaint was filed on 21st June 2023 and in November, the bank filed an application seeking for further and better particulars.

    On 29th November, 2023, the trial Judge dismissed the suit under Order 1 Rule 4 of the Civil Procedure Rules.

    In conclusion, Justice Kihika therefore considered that Sentongo has convinced Court that he has a prima facie case pending determination of his appeal before the Court of Appeal.

    On the issue of whether Sentongo will suffer irreparable damage or that the appeal will be rendered nugatory when the temporary order is granted, Justice Kihika base on Sentongo’s affidavit where he stated that he acquired the suit land in 2014 and it took him over 5 years to develop the same with a market he named ‘Nakayiza’ after his mother.

    He added that he has a sentimental attachment on the property that cannot be compensated for in damages if the property is sold. The property in the instant case is a commercial building with a market whose rent proceeds can be ascertained.

    “In my understanding, the applicant has to show that the damage bound to be suffered is such that it cannot be undone. It is therefore my considered view that the Applicant will suffer irreparable damage if this application is not granted,” the justice ruled.

    On the issue of balance of convenience, Justice Kihika explained that it is determined to lie more on the one who will suffer more if the bank is not restrained in the activities complained of in the said case insisting that the balance of convenience favors Sentongo if the application is not granted.

    He based on the evidence that Sentongo is in possession of the suit property which is a commercial building with various tenants carrying out business and the sale of the property will be to the detriment of him. That is why he wants to maintain the status quo until the determination of the appeal pending before the Court of Appeal.

    Court records seen by the mighty Grapevine indicate that in 2015, Sentongo approached the bank for a financial facility for completion of the commercial blocks for Segawa Market which was to be rented out to tenants to derive rental income.

    Both parties executed a facility in a letter dated 22nd February, 2016, for a Loan of Shs5bn and it was agreed that the facility would only be serviced through rent collections from the market if the bank funded the development.

    Sentongo claims that the bank breached the facility contract by failing to disburse the agreed sums of monies.

    Court documents show that Sentongo told the Commercial Division of the High Court that the bank would purport to credit his bank account, and synonymously liquidate the loan, paying itself back immediately with the sums credited, and the sums it would repay itself were always reflected as “Loan amounts recovered”.

    The bank on the other hand, according to court documents claimed that between February to October 2016, Sentongo was granted several loan facilities and at his request, they were consolidated into one term loan with a single monthly instalment amortized for a period of five years.

    He however, failed to meet his loan repayment obligations consequent upon which the bank issued him two notices of default.

    The bank further claimed that when they started the process of recovering their sum of Shs10bn, Sentongo decided to institute a lawsuit and was defeated at the Commercial Division of the High Court.

     

    By Sengooba Alirabaki

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    CRIME

    Equity Bank Shs6.5bn Fraud Case Deepens As More Suspects Are Charged, Remanded To Prison…

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    Equity Bank fraud suspects Mukwaya, Mugumya and Kato appearing in court

    Three more suspects from Equity bank multimillion fraud case have been arraigned before the Magistrates Court of the Anti-corruption Division on charges of Conspiracy to defraud and remanded to Luzira prison.

    The accused persons are; Godfrey Mukwaya and Robert Mugumya, all former employees of Airtel Uganda and Fred Kato a former head of Small and Medium Enterprises at Equity Bank.

    Prosecution alleges that Mukwaya, a former sales manager at Airtel Uganda used different people to open up bank accounts through which the bank was defrauded of more than Shs10bn.

    State further alleges that Mugumya is linked to 179 fictitious companies that were created to defraud Equity bank and he used different persons to obtain more than Shs35 billion.

    The presiding Magistrate Abert Asiimwe did not allow the accused persons to plead to the charges reasoning that they are joined on the case file involving money laundering which is triable by the High Court.

    “While this court has powers to handle the case of conspiracy, this one is emanating from money laundering. I advise that you will plead to the charges in the High Court which has powers to entertain all the cases,” Asiimwe said.

    The three suspects charged brings the charged number to eight.

    On March 20, 2024, five people among them employees of Equity Bank were charged over accusations of money laundering in regard to disbursement of Shs62bn of unsecured loans to unqualified persons.

    The first suspects were arraigned before the Anti-corruption Magistrates Court on charges of obtaining credit by false pretense, money laundering and conspiracy to defraud.

    The remanded suspects are; the head of Agency Banking at Equity Bank Julius Musiime, Erina Nabisubi a relationship manager for telecom, Fred Semwogerere (Banker), Tumuhimbise Crescent Tibarwesereka (relationship officer) and Wycliff Asiimwe a distribution and marketing consultant with a microfinance facility.

    State alleges that between the 2021 and 2024 at Equity Bank in Kampala City, Nabisubi being a person employed as a relationship manager in charge of Telecom incurred a debt of Shs6.55bn from Equity bank falsely representing that the loans were being applied for by Najjemba Gladys who she fronted as having fulfilled the bank requirements to access the loans whereas not.

    State added that Nabisubi also incurred a debt of Shs300m from Equity Bank falsely representing that the loans were being applied for by Nagawa Latiffa who she fronted as having fulfilled the bank requirements to access the loans whereas not.

    It is alleged that between 2021 and 2024 at Equity Bank headquarters situated at Church House in Kampala, Nabisubi intentionally impeded the establishment of the true ownership of Shs6.5bn which she fraudulently obtained from Equity Bank as loan through account number 1032100370335 in the name of Najjemba Gladys purporting that the said funds were applied for by Najjemba Gladys as a loan whereas not knowing that the said funds were a proceed of crime.

    State further alleges that Musiime intentionally concealed the true ownership of Shs18 million which he received as gratification from Mutuuza Stella for having fraudulently processed a loan of Shs700m from Equity Bank by requiring her to deposit the said gratification on account number 1013101211316 in the name of Gilbert Rwaiheru Kiiza knowing that the said deposits were a proceed of crime.

    According to the charge sheet, in the year 2021 and 2024 at different places in Kampala and Wakiso districts; Musiime, Nabisubi, Ssemwogerere, Tumuhimbise , Asiimwe, Kato, Mugumya and Mukwaya conspired together to defraud Equity Bank of Shs62bn by fraudulently causing the disbursement of unsecured loans to unqualified people.

     

    By Grapevine Reporter

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