Museveni appoints convicted tax fraudster to monitor corruption at URA

Museveni appoints convicted tax fraudster to monitor corruption at URA
The Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) tower in Nakawa.

Kampala, Uganda | By Michael Wandati | President Yoweri Museveni has established a new unit to combat corruption within the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA).

According to a brief statement from the Presidential Press Unit (PPU), this unit will operate under the State House.

“The President… has created the State House Revenue Intelligence and Strategic Operations Unit to do an oversight on Uganda Revenue Authority operations and fight corruption within the tax administration system,” the statement reads in part. 

The statement notes that the establishment of this unit aims to help the government close revenue leaks and enhance tax collection. It also mentions that President Museveni has appointed David Kalemera as a Senior Presidential Advisor and head of the unit.

David Kalemera, the head of the newly created State House Revenue Intelligence and Strategic Operations Unit.

Kalemera, notably, is a convicted tax fraudster. In 2022, he was found guilty by the Anti-Corruption Court of falsifying customs documents, leading to his dismissal from the URA in 2017. He was convicted alongside Ian Paul Ssemanda and Ronald Kazibwe for knowingly using falsified commercial invoices and packing lists to evade taxes. Kalemera argued that his issues at URA stemmed from conflicts with his superiors.

For instance, Kalemera testified in the Anti-Corruption Court that his attempts to enforce tax compliance on Sun Belt Textiles to recover Shs 13.5 billion in taxes led to a clash with the then commissioner of customs, now Sheema MP, Dickson Kateshumbwa.

Kalemera claimed that after ignoring threats to cease the investigation, he was accused of aiding the illegal dumping of textiles in Uganda.

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The creation of this new Anti-Corruption Unit adds to the array of statutory and other units designed to combat corruption in various government agencies.

State House already hosts several such units, including the Anti-Corruption Unit led by Brig Henry Isoke, the State House Investor Protection Unit headed by Col Edith Nakalema, and the State House Health Monitoring Unit led by Dr. Warren Namanya.

These units operate alongside statutory anti-corruption bodies such as the Inspectorate of Government, the Auditor General, the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Police Criminal Investigation Department, and the Anti-Corruption court.