Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) enforcement officers arrested Mr Chris Ssengoba Salongo for the evasion of export duties on rice that was meant for Kenya and taken to the Jinja Road Police Station to record a statement. Ssengoba did not anticipate that he would spend the third day in the New Year behind bars and that too for the crime he claims, he did not commit. On that day at about 11 pm, Ssengoba allegedly sold, rice meant to be re-exported to Kenya, in Uganda without paying duties, the charges he overwhelmingly denies. The rice had been imported from Pakistan by Gloree International Limited among other imported goods into the Ugandan market. Gloree had not paid taxes on the goods so they remained in the warehouse until taxes were cleared. Mr Ssengooba’s crime, according to URA was evasion of export duties as he had sold rice meant to be re-exported to Kenya in Uganda without paying duties. In his denial, he blames rogue clearing agents who are using traders Tax Identification Numbers (TINs) to purchase goods and divert them from their intended destination. Mr Ssengooba is expected to be arraigned in court today.
For imported goods to be sold on the Ugandan market, they have to be cleared by URA after payment of import duty. On three occasions, Mr Ssengoba is alleged to have bought consignments of goods, including rice, from Gloree International. According to an investigation report by URA, Mr Ssengoba bought 520 bags of rice on July 13, 2016. At the time, the goods were declared by Ssengoba as being destined for the Kenyan market as re-exports. On June 2, 2016, Ssengoba is alleged to have bought another 1040 bags from Gloree International under consignment number UGKLA E 13084. On the same day, he acquired another 1040 bags of rice from the same company and on that same day, the rice was loaded on a truck number KAU 605P/ZD 7284 destined for the Kenyan border town of Busia before being allowed into the Kenyan territory. But the rice never left Uganda and there were no records in the export books at the station of the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) in Busia, to prove that the goods were received. The KRA had no corresponding Inward Rotation numbers and the supervisor KRA at Busia categorically stated that Kenya has never received rice imports from Uganda between June 2016 and December 2016,” the report reads.