MTN Dismisses Tax Evasion Suit

MTN Uganda has dismissed as incompetent, a legal suit filed against the company over alleged tax evasion.

Anthony Katamba, MTN’s general manager for corporate affairs, told The Observer at the weekend that if MTN had done anything wrong, it would have been the subject of a police investigation, rather than being pursued by some individuals with their own agenda.

“It’s not the first time they are bringing these accusations the other time they were dismissed, now they are bringing them again without any merit,” Katamba said.

Last week, two citizens sued MTN in the High court’s civil division over alleged false declaration and tax evasion. Issa Ssegawa and Tevin Casper Okiru want the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) to revoke MTN’s licence on grounds that the company has breached its constitutional duty to pay tax and committed the crime of concealing a felony.

In their suit, filed on November 25, the duo say that in October 2012, a similar case came up and was taken over by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), who withdrew it to conduct more inquiries but has since done nothing.

The two claim that their inquiries at Uganda Revenue Authority found that the telecom giant has over the years been engaged in repeated acts of outright tax evasion and false declarations resulting in payment of less tax.

“The plaintiffs discovered that on or about October 2012, a whistle-blower blew the whistle into the chronic tax evasion by the defendant [MTN] of Shs 13,420,716,444 and Uganda Revenue Authority did conduct an investigation into the matter,” the plaint reads.

They cite other situations where a whistle-blower alleged false classifications in customs entries in 2008 and April 2014. Among other things, they want court to direct URA to carry out a forensic investigation of all customs tax declarations and general income tax declarations and compliance of MTN for the last six years.

Source : The Observer

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