URA vs. Ruparelia Case Sent to the Constitutional Court

6818 Views Kampala, Uganda
High Court in Kampala has granted the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) permission to challenge, in the Constitutional Court, a suit filed by hotel magnate, Sudhir Ruparelia. Ruparelia, the chairperson of Meera Investments, is suing URA, the Ministry of Finance and Uganda Investment Authority for 36 billion shillings. His suit is in response to one filed by the URA that is based on a continuing dispute between him and the tax body over the payment of taxes by Meera Investments. In its suit, the URA demanded 36 billion shillings in unpaid taxes from Meera Investments, but Ruparelia counter-claimed the URA for the same amount. He asked court to grant Meera Investments a permanent injunction preventing the URA from ever issuing any assessment on the company. The URA case was recalled by suspended judge, Okumu Wengi, in July. Addressing Court today, the URA lawyers argued that Justice Wengi didn't have substantial grounds to recall the case. They also contested the fact that the URA Commissioner General, Allen Kagina, is personally named in Ruparelia's suit. According to the URA Commissioner for Legal Affairs, Jennifer Ssemakula, any ruling in Ruparelia's favour would have adverse effects on tax administration. She said there are serious judicial considerations in the case that needed to be heard by a higher court. Justice Dan Akiiki Kiiza granted the URA permission to present its case to the Constitutional Court, which is expected to rule on the legality of Ruparelia's case in coming weeks. Meanwhile, an investigation by Interpol into the source of alleged loans given to Meera Investments by two offshore companies in Gibraltar and the British Virgin Islands continues. The investigation was initiated by URA on the suspicion that there may be elements of forgery and fraud involved in the case.