URA to Impound Bobi Wine’s Armoured Car
Justice Emmanuel Baguma ruled that based on URA's request, it was stressed that the basis of recalling the motor vehicle is strictly for re-verification. FILE PHOTO

High Court has dismissed a case in which Bobi Wine sought a court order to prevent Uganda Revenue Authority from reassessing the tax on his bullet-proof car.

The High Court in Kampala has dismissed an application in which Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu alias Bobi Wine was requesting the court to block Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) from recalling his bulletproof car for a fresh tax reassessment.

In March, the former presidential candidate filed a letter to the court seeking to block any moves by the URA to impound his vehicle for re-verification.

Kyagulanyi in his lawsuit had contended that URA does not have powers to recall his vehicle because it had already passed through their hands and cleared all the customs requirements.

He also wrote informing the court that the tax body had made continuous verbal threats to impound his car, denying him his right to freely enjoy possession of his property.

“The plaintiff (Mr Kyagulanyi) avers and contends that the defendant (URA) does not have any powers to arbitrarily call for, threaten to impound the plaintiff’s car Registration No. UBJ 667 F (Toyota Land Cruiser V8) for re-examination under Section 236 (d) of the East African Community Customs Management Act,” Kyagulanyi petition read in March.

It added: “The plaintiff (Mr Kyagulanyi) also avers that the defendant (URA) has no legal backing whatsoever to call for the plaintiff’s vehicle as he did in the said letter of February 24, 2021.

URA, in their letter to the court, noted that the vehicle was declared to customs as an ordinary vehicle and not an armoured one justifying that fewer taxes were collected for it.

“Armored vehicles are restricted items under the Customs law and the law regulating the Uganda People’s Defence Forces and requires special permission to import or own and thus it would only be proper if the applicant (Kyagulanyi) cooperates with the respondent(URA) to clarify on and clear the matter as the law requires,” URA noted.

However, the High Court in a Tuesday ruling dismissed Kyagulanyi’s application directing him to present his armoured vehicle to the tax body for reassessment.

Justice Emmanuel Baguma ruled that based on URA’s request, it was stressed that the basis of recalling the motor vehicle is strictly for re-verification. He said the law does not require the court to delve into the merits of the main suit. 

“In the instant application, the applicant’s motor vehicle was assessed, cleared and subsequently registered by URA on 12th January 2021. From this information, it is not in dispute that the purpose of recalling the motor vehicle is strictly for re-verification/re-examination,” Justice Baguma ruled.

“At this stage, the law does not require the court to delve into the merits of the main suit. All that is required to be proved is that there is a serious issue to be tried by the court and that, that issue is neither frivolous nor vexatious,” the judge said in his ruling.”

Also, Justice Baguma said that the court was not satisfied with Kyagulanyi’s submission about the armoured vehicle being his main means of transport.

URA to Impound Bobi Wine’s Armoured Car
Justice Emmanuel Baguma ruled that based on URA’s request, it was stressed that the basis of recalling the motor vehicle is strictly for re-verification. FILE PHOTO

The court further noted that there was no justifiable evidence to prove that any abductions made on Kyagulanyi’s car will result in irreparable injuries.

“Basing on the submissions by counsel for the applicant, the main worry or concern for sending back the alleged motor vehicle for re-verification or reexamination is that the said motor vehicle is the applicant’s main means of transport and his personal security. However, this honorable court was not satisfied with such submissions,” Justice Baguma added.

“It is therefore my considered view that the applicant has not adduced evidence to show that the re-calling of the said motor vehicle for re-verification or reexamination will cause him irreparable injury which cannot be compensated by an award of damages. The application therefore fails and it is hereby dismissed.”