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    WAR IN FDC: Nandala And Besigye Camp Sharpen Their Weapons; Semujju, Lukwago Lined Up To Battle Mafabi Camp…



    FDC Secretary General Nandala Mafabi (L) and Kizza Besigye (R). Inset is Semujju Nganda (Top) and Lord Mayor Lukwago (bottom)

    While speaking to Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) supporters in Kira Municipality, Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda, the area legislator declared that he is going to contest for the party’s Secretary General job.

    “It is our time to take over that Secretary General office, it is coming to Kira here,” Ssemujju was quoted telling fellow FDC members.

    Robert Mayanja, a political activist and FDC supporter confirmed the development explaining that high level meetings have been held around the country to strategise on how to rid their party from what he term as Museveni moles.

    He was supported by former Kawempe South legislator Mubrak Munyagwa alias Mugatti gwa Batta who said that the political surgery to clean FDC is going to be commanded by the four time presidential candidate Dr. Kizza Besigye.

    Highly placed sources in FDC revealed to theGrapevine that FDC is currently divided into two sharp camps; one led by Dr. Besigye and the other which is led by Nathan Nandala Mafabi, the party Secretary General.

    During the last FDC National Executive Council, Dr. Besigye allegedly placed Mafabi on the wall to explain to the party members where he was getting the huge sums of money he was using to facilitate party activities.

    “Dr. Besigye has spoilt President Museveni’s plans. Museveni was planning to replicate what he did with Norbert Mao and other Democratic Party (DP) leaders which ended in signing a Memorandum of Understanding with them. He wanted to walk the FDC into the same path,” Munyagwa said.

    Sources disclosed that since the National Executive Council meeting early this year, both camps have been exchanging bitter words with each camp swearing to kick the other out of the party.

    Wasswa Birigwa, the FDC National Chairperson confirmed that there are fights in the party but explained that the said fights are healthy and good for the party because each camp thinks that it has the best ideas for the party.

    Party elders led by Augustine Ruzindana tried to mediate talks between the principals of both parties but they have not yet yielded fruits.

    And in the last meeting, the warring factions almost exchange blows and insults.

    Sources divulged that the Besigye camp always holds their meetings at Katongo Road where Dr. Besigye’s offices are while the Mafabi camp holds their meetings at his home in Kyambogo and at a certain hotel in Bugolobi.

    FDC insiders intimated to theGrapevine that during one of the meetings in the Besigye camp, a decision was taken that Ssemujju vies for Secretary General Position and Kampala Lord Mayor Ssalongo Erias Lukwago, who is the party National Vice chairperson in charge of Buganda contest as the party president.

    These insiders added that the Mafabi’s camp is very determined to crush Lukwago through the current party president Patrick Amuriat Oboi.

    Munyagwa has already been fronted to stand as party mobiliser and he is likely to face off with Roland Mugume.

    “We still have a big problem in our camp, especially in the position of the head of the women’s league.  Doreen Nyanjura wants the seat but Faridah Nangonzi, the acting chairperson of the women’s league still wants the position also.  We don’t know who to front because they are both very powerful and can deliver victory” an insider in Besigye’s camp told theGrapevine.

    Another big problem the Besigye camp has is to compromise and convince city senior lawyer Dan Wandera Ogalo to switch to their side.

    Sources maintained that Besigye wants to front Ogalo to contest against Birigwa who is working with Mafabi but Ogalo has not yet welcomed the offer.

    Insiders claim that Ogalo has not yet forgiven Besigye for fronting Birigwa when he had just crosed from NRM and he defeated him.

    He fears that Birigwa can defeat him again. When contacted, Birigwa neither confirmed nor denied that is he is going to contest again, “give me a minute, I’m in a meeting, I will call you back,” Birigwa said upon getting a call from theGrapevine.

    Sources said that Mafabi’s calculation is to stand for presidency on FDC ticket in 2026 and he is likely to face off with Lukwago.

    Amuriat who contested for presidency on FDC ticket in 2021 is going to stand for MP seat in one of his home areas in Teso.


    By Sengooba Alirabaki



    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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    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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    Bobi Wine Faces Lawsuit For Defaming M7, NRA Rebels Who He Claimed Wore Torn Underwear And Commanded Gang Of Murderers…



    The Executive Director of the Uganda Media Center Ofwono Opondo has advised his boss President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and other members of the defunct National Resistance Army (NRA) rebel group who were aggrieved by the statements made by National Unity Platform (NUP) boss Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu (Bobi Wine) to institute both criminal and civil defamation cases against him as a person instead of police intervening.

    Last week, Bobi Wine told his supporters in Luweero that in 1980, a gang of men picked guns and killed thousands of people fighting a sitting government to take power and this gang has used taxpayers money to enrich themselves.

    To drive his point home, Bobi Wine claimed that those gang men were very poor to the extent that they were putting on torn underwear and none of them had more than two underwears, but they currently own empires they have achieved via looting the country.

    Bobi Wine further accused President Museveni of masterminding the killing of top Baganda personalities.

    While responding to police’s position to stop Bobi Wine’s rally over such statement, Opondo believes that what can successfully defeat Bobi Wine is if NRA members file a defamatory case against him basing on the grounds that Museveni, who was a former minister of defense and a minister of regional corporation cannot fail to buy underwear to the point of putting on torn ones.

    He added that in 1969, Museveni had some money which he was receiving his teaching job and he used part of his salary to buy Rwakitura land which he expanded in 1986 when he captured power.

    He further explained that other NRA rebels like Maj. Gen. Jim Muhwezi, the security minister were not poor like Bobi Wine claims because he was a police officer before joining the bush war.

    On the issue of murdering Baganda personalities Opondo disclosed that Bobi Wine cannot adduce evidence in court placing Museveni on the scene of crime because there are postmortem reports made by medical doctors in the presence of the deceased’s relatives and personal doctors.

    The nonsense Opondo blasted police for interfering in political matters. He explained that Bobi Wine should be left to expose himself in other regions of the country as if he is a clan chief in Buganda.

    He wondered where police was when Bobi Wine’s supporters vandalized a vehicle in Mbarara a week before suspending his political rallies.

    Opondo accused NRM top leadership of sleeping on their job and failing to counter Bobi Wine falsehoods but waiting for him as a government spokesperson to respond even though they also have the capacity to do so.

    He cited Rose Nsereko Namayanja the deputy NRM Secretary General who is born of Luweero where Bobi Wine uttered these falsehoods against Museveni; and Rosemary Sseninde the NRM Chief mobilizer who are supposed to go to the same area and counter Bobi Wine’s fictions with touching evidence.

    He noted that since Museveni took power, he has been appointing people from greater Luweero to position of a minister concerning Luweero affairs but they all have failed to establish the right cause of problems in Luweero.

    However, Busiro East legislator and also one of Bobi Wine’s lawyers, Medard Lubega Sseggona warned Opondo to be very careful when advising Museveni to institute a criminal and civil suit against Bobi Wine because he will be exposed in court.

    He explained that Museveni should prove to court that he was among the gang that Bobi Wine mentioned in his statement and that he wore torn underwear.

    He challenged Opondo that Museveni has to prove that he was not part of the group Bobi Wine accused of grabbing peoples land in Buganda insisting that Museveni didn’t buy his Rwakitura land in 1969 as Opondo said and if Museveni proves so, he is ready to award him a cow for winning him.

    He was supported by veteran journalist Andrew Mwenda who relied on the declaration of late Justice Joseph Mulenga of the Supreme Court who declared that Ugandans have the right to abuse their leaders when they realise they are making mistakes.

    Civil Division Court head, Justice Musa Ssekaana declared that the sitting president has a right to institute a private case in his personal capacity against any person which is being challenged in the Constitutional Court.

    If Museveni picks Opondo’s advice, Bobi Wine is likely to dig deep into his pockets to compensate Museveni as Daily Monitor did recently by coughing Shs300m for defaming him.


    By Grapevine Reporter


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