Business

Tax Evasion Scandal: MTN Bosses Face Court On December 12

cialis 40mg http://compuaprende.com/components/com_community/templates/jomsocial/layouts/email.profile.wallcomment.text.php geneva; font-size: small; line-height: 200%; text-align: justify;”>The Buganda Road Magistrate’s Court in Kampala has summoned MTN Uganda Chairman Charles Mbiire, find Chief Executive Office Mazen Mroue, board members Khumo Sehoole and Mozipho January Dardil among others to take plea over allegations of false declaration and conspiracy to falsify declaration to defraud government of taxes.

Others include corporation secretary, Anthony Mutyaba Katamba; Chief Finance Officer Mike Blackburn and his predecessor, Nigel Williams, as well as a former procurement manager, Mervvin Immelman and his successor, Francis Terffoute.

“Your attendance is necessary in court to answer charges of False Declaration Contrary to section 203 (a) and (b) of the East African Community Customs Management Act 2004, Tax Evasion contrary to section 203 (e) of the East African community customs managament Act 2004, conspiracy to make false declarations and conspiracy to evade tax contrary to sections 193 of the East African Cummunity customs management Act, 2004,” reads part of the summons issued by Chief Magistrate, Sylivia Nalwanga, on Wednesday evening.

“You are hereby commanded to appear before this honourable Court on this 12th day of December at 9:00am or soon thereafter as the case can be heard.”


The officials face at least 169 counts of tax evasion following a case filed by the former MTN logistics officer, Naphtali Were.

The case is likely to be dramatic, considering that high profile officials are involved in what appears to be the biggest “corporate fraud” case in the country in recent years.

The Anti Corruption Court Chief Magistrate, Irene Akankwasa, also on Wednesday stayed the planned prosecution of Were on charges of embezzlement and conspiracy to embezzle of company funds.

Were’s lawyers told Akankwasa that MTN is trumping up “ludicrous charges” which include theft of MTN property-11 solar power inverters against their client to intimidate him against pushing forward a case that could expose the rot at the giant telecom firm.

The case is yet to attract significant public attention.

Most publications receive millions of shillings of advertising revenue from the telecom firm.

MTN denies allegations of tax evasion, saying, “customs declarations are made by clearing agents, and not by the MTN Global Chief Executive or the MTN Board, who reside abroad, or by the MTN Uganda Chairman or senior executives, as this is a function of clearing agents which are independent companies.”

“Therefore, the private prosecution which was initiated by a person who is facing four cases of fraud and theft should be viewed in its proper perspective,” a statement issued early this week by CEO- MTN Uganda, Mazen Mroué reads in part.

But Were has exhibited unprecedented zeal and courage to bring MTN top shots to book for evading taxes – which could build at least 20 Health Centre IVs.

BACKGROUND

According to impeccable sources, from 2001, MTN had been dealing with two companies – Eagle Logistics solutions Limited and Three Ways Shipping Company for freight forwarding services.

Charles Mbiire

It’s feared Were will tell court that some officials in URA and Ministry of Finance were compromised to facilitate the falsification of custom entries with the view to dodge taxes.

This reportedly occurred from 2005 to 2012.

However, after getting a tip on this scandal, URA boss Allen Kagina directed an “in-depth investigation” into MTN’s tax declarations.

It is alleged that fearing heavy consequences from the URA iron-lady, MTN swiftly shifted the blame to the freight forwarding companies. MTN said Eagle Logistics solutions Limited and Three Ways Shipping Company had defrauded them by “billing invoices for no work done” for three years (2008 – 2011).

It remains unclear how a company that boasts a prestigious internal audit department could spend three years without noticing these multi-billion cases of fraud.

Pushed to the wall by URA investigators, it’s alleged, MTN singled out some employees as “sacrificial lambs” to bear the brunt of the tax evasion scandal.

Were and some of his colleagues were interdicted and sued by MTN for “collaborating” with MTN accountants and Three Ways to steal $3.8 (Shs9.6bn) and then with Eagle Logistics to siphon $0.65 (Shs1.65bn).

Suspecting that MTN intended to attribute the tax evasion woes to him, Were chose to surrender all the information he had obtained by virtue of his position to URA.

Khumo Sehoole

With URA showing interest in the case, Were hired private lawyers to prosecute the MTN directors.

Chimpreports Investigations Desk is trying to establish reports that MTN signed a memorandum of understanding with the two freight forwarding companies for the refund of “stolen” monies before separately applying for compensation from an Insurance company.

This is a developing scandal. Updates will be posted as events unfold.

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