President Museveni has on several occasions described the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) as “a den of thieves” because the levels of corruption are alarmingly despite the sacking of several commissioners.
Going by reports of recent scandals, the pre-2004 corruption at URA seems to be returning with some staffers conniving with ‘wrong elements’ to defraud the tax collecting body.
The loopholes in the tax administration seem to be knocking on URA’s door unless something is done fast.
Increasing corruption is reflected in the degree of tax evasion evidenced by smuggling, forgeries, under declaration of income and goods among companies and individuals, and corruption among tax collectors.
This, after Uganda National Bureau Of Standards (UNBS) an agency, responsible for the formulation, promotion of the use of, and the enforcement of standards in protection of the environment, public health and safety, and URA staff allowed smuggled ‘For Sale In Kenya Only’ Kay Salt into Uganda. As if that was not enough, they even permitted it to be donated to COVID-19 Task Force!
According to a report by TheSpy Uganda, it was discovered that, Krystaline Salt Limited had already earned billions of Uganda shillings after smuggling it into Uganda in different ways including ‘panya reroutes’ by bicycle riders and people with disabilities using their wheelchair bicycles who carry reasonable quantities a day by making several trips and also big trucks who directly pass through the right paths after bribing their way.
Now, putting aside the above background, the current information on our desk is that, Internal Security Organisation (ISO) is investigating circumstances under which over 200kgs of Kaysalt meant to be consumed only in Kenya was donated as relief food items in Uganda.
TheSpy Uganda reports that Fred Gonja, the Secretary Katosi landing site, says it is possible to smuggle goods into the country using the lake and as a result, they’ve not only evaded taxes and other import duties, but also caused excruciating losses to legal brands on the market as their market sales have since declined by over 60%.
“Sometimes people run out of fuel on the lake and that is when they cross into the country. Many come unnoticed and that’s when maybe even goods can be smuggled by traders,” Gonja said.
According to sources, the Kenya based Krystaline also the proud manufacturer of Habari salt also smuggles Kaysalt using Kenya-Uganda both Busia and Malaba borders.
In a bid to understand the possibility of how unauthorised ‘For Sale In Kenya Only’ enters Uganda, our reporter was told by one of the agents of Krystalline salt at border who preferred anonymity “Yaaah! true all of us here at the border sale this salt [holds a packet in his hands], since it is smuggled, it makes it cheaper, soo…..we are earning more at least since we buy it cheaply and sale in different packages.
However, this means that Kaysalt producers Krystalline Salt Limited is not only evading URA Import taxes and other fundamental duties but also breach Uganda Revenue Authority importing requirements that include: Import declaration, Content particulars, Suppliers invoice, Documented evidence carriage of goods, Customs value declaration, Compliance information, Good release order evidence etc.