Court dismisses Bobi Wine’s case against URA on verification of armored vehicle

KAMPALA – The High Court in Kampala has dismissed an application by the National Unity Platform (NUP) former presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi for a temporary injunction blocking Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) from recalling his armored vehicle for a verification process.

Kyagulanyi had petitioned court seeking an injunction restraining the URA, its agents, servants or persons acting with or under it, from enforcing the impugned decision or letter calling for his motor vehicle Registration number UBF 667 F Toyota Land Cruiser V8 for re-examination or otherwise until the final determination of the suit.

He also wanted Court to restrain URA, its agents, servants or persons working with and under it from arbitrarily, unilaterally, illegally and unlawfully impounding, or otherwise possessing his motor vehicle until the final determination of the head suit.

Justice Emmanuel Baguma on Tuesday, April 6 in his ruling noted that, “It is, therefore, my considered view that the applicant has not adduced evidence to show that the re-calling of the said motor vehicle for re-verification/re-examination will cause him an irreparable injury which cannot be compensated by an award of damages.

In the final result, this application is not a proper one to grant a temporary injunction. The application therefore fails and it is hereby dismissed,” the Judge ruled.

The Judge observed that the purpose of granting a temporary injunction is to preserve the matters in the status quo until the question to be investigated in the main suit is finally disposed of.

The status quo considered by courts is the one prevailing at the time of filing the application.

He noted that in the instant application, Kyagulanyi’s motor vehicle was assessed, cleared and subsequently registered by URA on January 12, 2021.

“From this information, it is not in dispute that the purpose of recalling the motor vehicle is strictly for re-verification/re-examination. At this stage, the law does not require Court to delve into the merits of the main suit.

“All that is required to be proved is that there is a serious issue to be tried by Court and that, that issue is neither frivolous nor vexatious,” the Judge observed.

He noted that an injunction will not normally be granted unless the applicant has shown that he will suffer irreparable injury which would not adequately be compensated by an award of damages.

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“Basing on the submissions by Lawyers for Kyagulanyi, the main concern for sending back the alleged motor vehicle for re-verification is that the said motor vehicle is his main means of transport and his personal security. However, this honorable court was not satisfied with such submissions,” the Judge noted.

Last month, Kyagulanyi who is also the Kyadondo East Member of Parliament petitioned the High Court in Kampala challenging the decision by the URA to recall his vehicle for a verification process.

This was after URA Commissioner for Customs Abel Kagumire wrote a letter demanding that Kyagulanyi surrenders the motor vehicle for re-examination by February 26, 2021 noting that their findings revealed that among others, the fact that the said vehicle was armoured was not declared during their assessment exercise.

Through his lawyers Wameli and Company Advocates, Kyagulanyi claimed he had been targeted since he participated in politics especially after the recently concluded presidential elections.

He also noted in his petition that his properties, including vehicles, have been unlawfully impounded or retained by the government.

He cited a motor vehicle registration number UAT 416K (Tundra) which has been parked at Arua Central Police Station since 2018.

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The said car was impounded by police following a fracas in the Arua Municipality by-elections where Kyagulanyi’s driver Yasin Kawuma was shot dead when People Power supporters were accused of allegedly pelting stones at one of the vehicles of President Yoweri Museveni.

Kyagulanyi says that since then, all his other vehicles have either been damaged, destroyed or made unroadworthy by the government security agencies.

As such, Kyagulanyi says, he acquired the vehicle registration number UBJ-667F in January 2021 to help him with transport and protect his life.

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