Bobi Wine petitions court as URA recalls his armored vehicle

Ugandan gov't probes how Bobi Wine’s bullet-proof car
Former presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi, alias Bobi Wine’s bullet-proof car

Kampala, Uganda | URN | The National Unity Platform (NUP) president Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu alias Bobi Wine has petitioned the High court in Kampala challenging the decision by Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) to recall his armored vehicle for a verification process.

Through his lawyers; Wameli and Company Advocates, Mr Kyagulanyi says that he has been targeted since he participated in politics especially after the recently concluded presidential elections. He says that his properties, including vehicles, have been unlawfully impounded or retained by the government.

He cited a motor vehicle registration number UAT 416K (Tundra) which has been parked at Arua Central police station since 2018. The said car was impounded by police following a fracas in the Arua Municipality by-election where Kyagulanyi’s driver Yasin Kawuma was shot dead by the presidential guards after his supporters allegedly pelted stones at one of the vehicles of President Yoweri Museveni.

Mr Kyagulanyi says that since then, all his other vehicles have either been damaged, destroyed or made unroadworthy by the government security agencies. As such, Mr Kyagulanyi says, he acquired the vehicle registration number UBJ 667F (Toyota Land Cruiser V8) in January 2021 to help him with transport and protect his life.

On February 24, URA through their commissioner for customs Abel Kagumire wrote a letter demanding that Mr Kyagulanyi surrenders the said motor vehicle for re-examination by February 26.

According to the tax body, their findings revealed that among others, the fact that the said vehicle was armored was not declared during their assessment exercise.

“The above-mentioned motor vehicle was declared to customs as an ordinary motor vehicle, instead of an armoured motor vehicle, the implication of which is that the vehicle was under-valued at 157,925,502/=” reads Kagumire’s letter.

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Mr Kyagulanyi through his lawyers wrote to URA asking them to backtrack on their decision before going to the court on Monday evening. He alleges that the said vehicle has been in the hands of URA customs warehouse who examined and assessed before it was registered and released to him.

The musician-turned politician further contends that he is currently in possession and use of the said motor vehicle both as a means of transport and for protection purposes.

He says he’s now worried that if he hands over the said armored vehicle, he will be left without any means of transport and without the protection that he so much sought after in that particular vehicle which cannot be penetrated by bullets.

He notes that he has fears that he will lose his vehicle since URA states that they did inquiries that revealed many findings which he was not even privy to.  

The plaintiff/Kyagulanyi has been a victim of such schemes from the government where his vehicle (Tundra) currently at Arua Central police station was illegally and unlawfully impounded and has been kept for over 3 years since 2018 under the guise of carrying out inquiries.

Mr Kyagulanyi now says that by the said actions of URA, his right to property is being infringed upon. Therefore, he is seeking a declaration that URA does not have any powers to arbitrarily call for, threaten to pound his armored vehicle for re-examination in as far as the East African Community Customs Management Act.

He also wants the court to issue a permanent injunction restraining URA and her agents from enforcing their decision in Kagumire’s letter. He further wants to be compensated for the inconvenience caused to him as well as costs of his suit which he says the subject matter is valued at more than Shs 150 million which fall under the jurisdictions of High court.

The matter is yet to be fixed for hearing.