By Mariam Namakula
The High Court of Kampala, has dismissed National Unity Platform party (NUP) Robert Kyagulanyi’s application to grant temporary injunction against the commissioner of customs of the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) for re-verification and reexamination of his new armed motor vehicle.
Kyagulanyi had sought for an injunction order from this Court, to bar URA from re-assessing the taxes of his vehicle, which had been purchased to him by his supporters.
Delivering his ruling yesterday, Judge Emmanuel Baguma noted that kyagulanyi had not presented enough evidence to show that the recalling of his motor vehicle for re-verification / reexamination was to cause him any irreparable injury which couldn’t be compensated by an award of damages as earlier stated in his petition
“The main worry / concern for sending back the alleged motor vehicle for re-verification/ reexamination is that the said motor vehicle is the applicant’s main means of transport and his personal security, a thing that the honorable court did not find satisfactory,” Baguma said.
He therefore ordered that the application be dismissed as it was not proper to be granted a temporary injunction excusing the applicant from any costs thereby giving URA the mandate to re inspect and levy tax accordingly
URA through its lawyers led by; Habib Yahaya, Aliddeki Ssali Alex, Bakashaba Donald, and Sam Kwerit had also responded to kyagulanyi’s application as not only frivolous but also vexatious and was ought to be rejected by law
According to the respondents the “body” was not acting outside the law and therefore all the actions that were taken were within the law
“The respondent stands to suffer if his vehicle is not produced for joint examination, this will help validate or rebut the preliminary findings and that the applicant will not suffer any injuries which couldn’t be compensated by an award of damages,” said the legal team
Adding that the respondent would have failed in her statutory duties of protecting government revenue and would be held accountable to the oversight bodies such as the Auditor General and Parliament of Uganda
URA explains that this is a short exercise that will be done in a short period of time and therefore will not require the applicant to look for alternative means of transport as alleged in his application
Mr. Kyagulanyi on the other side through his lawyers led by Turyamusiima Geoffrey had filed this application requesting that the courts of law grant a temporary injunction against URA for re-verification and reexamination on grounds that the vehicle had already been assessed, cleared and subsequently registered by the body on 12 January
Turyamusiima also noted that his client’s life, property and personal security was in threat and therefore not granting this injunction would be an infringement on his right to property and security
However URA has since rebuked the claims on grounds that the commissioner had all powers to recall and reexamine goods already cleared by requiring the owner of the same to produce them to the commissioner for that purpose
And that URA was an Independent Statutory Body exclusively mandated to assess, collect and account for the Central Government tax revenue
On whether the case was a proper one to grant a temporary injunction, section 38 of the Judicial Act, empowers court to grant an injunction to refrain a person from doing an act. According to the act court grants temporary injunction; if there’s need to preserve the matters in the status quo until the question to be investigated in the main suit is finally disposed of, if the applicant shows a Prima Facie case with a probability of success, if the applicant may suffer irreparable injury which would not adequately be compensated by an award of damages and if the court is in doubt, then it would decide an application on the balance of convenience
The respondent had however also raised preliminary objection in a written submission noting that the court had no jurisdiction to entertain such application as it was a tax matter that was under the Tax Appeal Tribunal (TAT) Act.
URA added that commissioner of customs had on 24 February through a letter that was addressed to the applicant to voluntarily take the suit motor vehicle for verification a thing that the applicant objected
The court though dismissed these claims as well sighting that the applicant’s case wasn’t a tax issue but main suit to challenge the arbitrary and unilateral acts of the Commissioner wherein his rights were infringed upon or threatened