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Uganda: Bobi Loses Round One of ‘Bulletproof’ Vehicle Case

By Anthony Wesaka

The High Court in Kampala yesterday declined to block Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) from recalling the alleged bulletproof car belonging to former presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi, aka Bobi Wine, for fresh tax reassessment.

Presiding judge Emmanuel Baguma observed that reassessment of Bobi Wine’s car would not cause him irreparable injury that cannot be atoned in terms of damages.

The judge also noted that Mr Kyagulanyi failed to prove that the car was the only means of transport he has and hence could not hand it over to URA.

“It is, therefore, my considered view that the applicant (Mr Kyagulanyi), has not adduced evidence to show that the recalling of the said vehicle for re-verification will cause him irreparable injury which cannot be compensated by award of damages. In the final result, this application is not a proper one to grant a temporary injunction. The application, therefore, fails and it’s hereby dismissed,” Justice Baguma ruled.

However, the judge did not condemn Mr Kyagulanyi to legal costs.

“Basing on the nature and circumstances of this application, no order is made as to costs. I so order,” Justice Baguma ruled.

This now means that URA is at liberty to impound Mr Kyagulanyi’s car for tax reassessment.

Early last month, the leader of the opposition National Unity Platform party sought to block URA from recalling his car.

This followed a communication from the tax body to the politician of how his car had been undervalued as an ordinary car.

However, Mr Kyagulanyi had contended that the tax body did not have legal powers to recall his vehicle that had already passed through their hands.

He had, among other orders, sought a permanent injunction against URA and all its agents from enforcing the said orders to have his car recalled for tax re-verification, which court rejected yesterday.

LOOKING BACK

The tax body on February 24 wrote to Mr Kyagulanyi, stating that his vehicle had been cleared as an ordinary car without knowing that it was bulletproof and therefore, sought to be recalled for tax re-evaluation. However, Mr Kyagulanyi through his lawyers, wrote back to URA, saying they do not have powers to recall goods that have left their hands.

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