Uganda Revenue Authority on Tuesday paraded a one Caleb Kankiraho, a resident of Nalya National Housing Estate, who has been posing as a URA agent and defrauding Importers of their money.
According to Julius Rubagumya, the Acting Commissioner General URA, Kakiraho who was captured on Saturday at Jinja Road, has been working with a group of individuals under the protection of some police officers to solicit bribes from unsuspecting importers while pretending to work as a URA Customs Officer and sometimes a URA informant.
It is alleged that on Wednesday last week, an importer named Fred Kasozi from Masanafu, while offloading his goods in Nakulabye was approached by Kankiraho, who was in a Toyota Prado together with a woman and two police officers.
Kankiraho told Kasozi that he was a URA officer, even showed him a URA ID and that he had been sent to confiscate his goods and take them to URA head office in Nakawa because they had been undervalued.
Kasozi, not wanting to go through the long process of securing his goods from URA which would cost him more money, begged Kankiraho to spare him.
He then suggested that Kasozi pays him Shs 2m if he didn’t want his goods taken, which price was haggled down to 1million, and Kasozi paid.
“However, shortly before Kankiraho and his team left, some two policemen came and locked my store. After that, another group came and loaded my goods which they brought to URA. I had taken the pictures of the vehicle that Kankiraho came with because I had paid them money,” Kasozi said at a press conference held at URA offices in Nakawa.
According to URA, this was not the first time that Kankiraho and team has been reported to be defrauding people. He is a known fraudster who URA has been trailing.
“If the person refused to give them money, Kankiraho and team would then call some URA customs officers and make false allegations against the particular importer and we would sometimes impound the importers goods based on that false information.
However, we discovered the trick and stopped our team from following up on the information given by the said informants. We are going to introduce strong systems at boarders like scanners so that we reduce such cases in the future” Rubagumya said
Meanwhile, he says, the Authority is working with the security agencies to deal with the security officers that have been helping these individuals in the said acts
According to Ian Rumanyika, the fraudsters have been taking advantage of the fact that URA is understaffed and has no officers in different parts of the country to con people.
“We do not have enough officers to put in every area and so some conmen like Kankiraho and team has been taking advantage to con the unsuspecting importers. However, we are putting in place digital measures to ensure that we reduce dependency on the informants” he said
The public especially importers were advised to desist from falling in the trap of the said fraudsters by ensuring tax compliance at all levels
“If you know that your goods have been cleared by a legitimate URA officer, there is no need to be intimidated by any one. We have a toll number, 0800117000 that you can call us on in case such an incident happens. Also our officers should always be in full uniforms and with valid identification numbers and using URA marked vehicles, anyone that comes in a strange car, however expensive cannot be an officer of URA, be vigilant and report any such cases,” he said
Kankiraho is already in police custody and will be presented to court for prosecution when his file is ready. URA is also working with security forces to trap the other suspects that have been working with him