A joint intelligence operation with police led by Uganda Revenue Authority has led to the arrest of a one Joshua Bulegeya, suspected to be involved in forgery of Digital Tax Stamps (DTS) on gazetted products.
Bulegeya was incarcerated for operating an illegal business and counterfeiting of ambiance waragi gin. His operation stretched throughout Nansana and to adjacent towns.
“The alert on the tax fraud scheme was as a result of a lodged complaint to Uganda Police by Mr. Joseph Kiyimba, the Managing Director of Ambiance Distillers Ltd,’’ revealed Mr Denis Kugonza, the URA Commissioner of Tax Investigations.
Mr. Kiyimba similarly informed URA about his concerns regarding the tax crimes being committed under his business name by Bulegeya who was affixing forged digital tax stamps on counterfeit ambiance waragi gin packed in 200ml plastic bottles.
URA submitted the seized samples to its science laboratory for forensic examination to ascertain the validity of the digital tax stamps in contention. Indeed, as suspected, the results indicated that the digital tax stamps were forged and the products were counterfeit.
The suspect appeared before the Anti-Corruption court and remanded to Luzira prison on two counts of forgery of a stamp contrary to section 350(a) of the Penal Code Act, CAP 120 and being in possession of a forged tax stamp contrary to Section 62nd of the Tax Procedures Code (Amendment) Act 2022 as amended.
URA reminded all manufacturers and importers of DTS-gazetted products to always comply with the requirements of the tax laws which creates a level ground for all players. Taxpayers are also implored to always alert URA whenever they have information about businesses they suspect of counterfeiting and forging digital tax stamps.
The use of Digital Tax Stamps was rolled out in 2019 as a requirement for excisable products whether produced locally or imported in Uganda. These products currently include beer, soda, bottled water, wines, spirits, tobacco products, sugar, cement, cooking oil, juices, alcoholic, non-alcoholic and fermented beverages.