Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Uganda Revenue Authority-URA has sealed off the offices of The Observer at Tagore Crescent in Kamwokya Kampala for reported non-tax compliance.
A team of URA enforcement officers stormed the offices on Wednesday afternoon and locked the main gates with seals. The Observer has confirmed the closure of its offices in a message on its Facebook page.
“This afternoon, URA sealed off our offices in Kamwokya claiming that we have not met out tax obligations,” reads the message.
The Observer disputes the claims, saying that it has been engaging the tax body since December 2018 to try and clear discrepancies between their figures and those of URA.
The statement also notes that there is miscommunication between the enforcement department and the domestic tax department.
“Our appeals and negotiations were not communicated. The enforcement department proceeded without being updated by the domestic tax department. We are in talks to see to it that the problem is sorted out as soon as possible,” the statement reads.
Ian Rumanyika, the URA Manager in Charge of Public and Cooperate Affairs told URN that the closure of The Observer offices stems from arrears worth Shillings 2.5 billion including the Value Added Tax-VAT and Pay As You Earn-PAYE.
“We have been in negotiations with The Observer for a quite long. There is a Memorandum of Understanding which they didn’t fulfill. We expected them to fulfill it in Installments first in January and the last one in February as agreed, but we have waited in vain.” Rumanyika told URN. He said the closure is meant to compel The Observer Media to pay up.
The paper’s last edition was on Tuesday, where they led with the story “Doctor Reveals Rot in Health.”