Uganda: Members of Parliament seek legal ways to evade taxes! Citizens rise up (20.11.2016)

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Misappropriate funds instead of feeding the hungry in the districts; 10th Parliament greedy MPs only see their bellies and not that they represent the ones that are starving!

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Something is just wrong, something is seriously wrong, as the misappropriated funds and public coffers in Uganda; there is something sinister going on. It is okay that a government and administration cannot make it rain or make sun shine, but they can make sure the people together with public gathering technics make sure when there is plenty of water. It’s in tanks and other barrels until needed for the crops and enough for drinking. This is practices mankind has done since the Roman Empire. It’s not spectacular, but convenient.

On the other hand, since Roman Time, there has always been corruption, and men has always been corrupted by gold, silver and sparkly things. So as the citizens are hungry, the starvation isn’t only in Isingiro, where the starvation is dangerously high, there are other districts severely hit by the draught and the lack of rain.

Hunger in the districts:

Already, 1.3 million Ugandans, the minister said, need urgent food aid and so far, 600kgs of maize flour and 300 kilogrames of beans have been sent to Isingiro Districts where some people have starved to death” (…) “According to Mr Kibazanga, 65 per cent of people in Karamoja sub region have one meal or half a meal in a day as opposed to three meals while 35 per cent of the population in the districts of Katakwi, Amuria, Kumi, Bukedea, parts of Serere and Kaberamaido are in the same phase with Karamoja sub-region” (…) “Mr Kibazanga also revealed that 50 per cent of the people of Koboko, Yumbe, Moyo, Maracha, Arua, Zombo, Nebbi, Adjumani, Amuru, Nyoya, Gulu, Pader, Lamwo, Kitgum, Agago, Soroti, Ngora, Amolatar, Pallisa, Butaleja, Rakai, Isingiro and Tororo have access to a meal a day. The districts of Oyam, Apac, Kiryandongo, Masindi, Bulisa, Kyankwanzi, Nakaseke, Kiboga, Mubende, Luwero, Kyegegwa, Sembabule, Kiruhura, Lwengo, Ntugamo, Kamuli and Kibuuku are in a minimal phase of food insecurity, meaning the people can still afford all meals though stocks are running low” (Tajuba, 2016).

So when the Government knows about that and they continue with their inappropriate idea of giving new cars for the Members of Parliament, something that the 10th Parliament MPs have been waiting for. It is in their duty and now getting a free-ride for their services; this they do while districts upon districts lack food and water, while they are starving… the reckless thieving of state coffers instead of supplying needed food from the budgets !

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New Cars for the MPs:

“Parliament has received a release of Shs25 billion for payment of vehicle grant to members of parliament. The money will cater for at least 250 MPs out of 431. According to parliament’s director of communcations Chris Obore, the Parliamentary Commission will first pay new MPs. The new MPs to get first are those without election petitions in court. The old MPs will be paid when the Commission gets a new release. It emerged recently that each Member of Parliament will bag Shs200m instead of Shs150m as had earlier been budgeted by the Parliamentary Commission. This means Parliament will spend more than Shs85 billion on all the legislators” (the Insider, 2016).

As much as there are money in the system for unnecessary expenditure from the 10th Parliament, that with no thought or consideration thinks about the consequences for the once they are supposed to represent. They apparently wish to become greedy like the former EX-MPs who we’re taken to court and charged with massive thieving, though where the money really went nobody knows. They surely pocketed some of it, but the where it we’re supposed to go, is not hard to know. Because the pay-outs we’re to ghosts, ghosts are invisible creatures not of the living.

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Pension Scam:

“Anti Corruption Court in Kampala has found three former top employees of ministry of public service including Jimmy Lwamafa, the ex-permanent secretary guilty of all the ten charges slapped against them by the state.  Presiding judge, Lawrence Gidudu summarised in his ruling that the fraud to steal the Shs88.2 billion was hatched in the public service, smoothened in finance ministry and executed in Cairo bank where the money was finally paid out to ghost pensioners” (Ndagire & Wesaka, 2016).

So the living in the districts are either this days getting screwed by their own representatives of the 10th Parliament, as they are more keen on perks and riches than helping the citizens they represent, that is what their President Museveni has been teaching for three decades now. So the people are starving and not getting valuable food or needed water for their daily life, while the MPs are riding in flash, posh cars in Kampala. That is happening while their predecessors are being detained for thieving from coffers to bail-out ghost pensioners, while the results of the matter are not told where the money went.

We can wonder since it is not told, that somebody did their bidding and stole the monies for the bigger plan of their President, and when they we’re not needed to do their service they gotten taken to court. That wouldn’t be surprising as that has happen before in the times udner the Executive Museveni. It’s just new names who done similar things in the past. The billions of shillings are levels of stealing while the hunger is running rapid is worrying; together with the wishes of lavish lifestyle by the men who supposed to represent them. Instead they represent themselves and not using their powers and reach to service the famine ridden districts, because they only see their own tummy. Peace.

Reference:

Ndagire, Betty & Wesaka, Anthony – ‘Court finds Lwamafa, Obey, Kunsa guilty of fraud’ (11.09.2016) link: http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/Court-Lwamafa-Obey-pension-scam-Kunsa-guilty-fraud/688334-3448762-n2qb3oz/index.html

The Insider – ‘NEWS MPs receive Shs25 billion for cars’ (08.11.2016) link: http://www.theinsider.ug/mps-receive-shs25-billion-for-cars/#.WCindPnhDIU

Tajuba, Paul – ‘Millions of Ugandans in 45 districts starving, says govt’ (04.11.2016) link: http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/Millions-of-Ugandans-in-45-districts-starving–says-govt/688334-3440478-8uj0buz/index.html

Opinion: 10th Parliament MPs proves that their Greed is more important than the Government programs and running expenses!

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This is growing concern not because of the World Bank suspending loans and funds to the development projects or anything else. The ways the allocated funds and tax funds are used in the 10th Parliament shows their level of reckless spending and no concern of accountability.

This happens on the week the Daily Monitor shows reports of 80% of Primary Teachers that teach who can’t read while being government civil servants. These Teachers are the ones learning their inabilities to the future. So the misappropriate funds for the Educational Sector comes into fruition. The Universal Primary Education is surely improperly balanced together with the mismanagement of buildings and salaries; if they get salaries that usually never on time, teachers can wait for months upon months to get their pay. There are enough fallen and depleted schools.

While the Education Sector is in shambles the Members of Parliaments are allocating more money for their private cars. So they can drive around like King-pins in their constituency. They can ride around in the Toyotal Land Cruiser Prado and feel special while their citizens they represent have teachers who can’t read and supposed to teach Vincent grammar. That is just so special ignorance of their duty those 30 years of the Movement should have had enough time to make difference and not make the schooling system weaker.

This is happening in the week that the imported Anti-Retroviral Drugs (ARDs) where National Medical Store (NMS) are distributing medicines, but they are sold more expensively locally than internationally. The Ugandan population are doing the same as Americans who pays an extra fortune for their EpiPen Auto-Injector. Together with the other issues around in the Hospitals like Uganda Cancer Institute and their breakdown of hte Cobalt 60 Teletherapy Machine. That still isn’t fixed and was the only one in the great nation.

While the Health Care and Health Sector are not as functional as it should be. While this is happening the MPs have allocated funds and bought Tablets or Ipad’s for a fortune for themselves. Because these MPs need tablets to write notes and such even if am not sure Prime Minister Dr. Ruhakana Ruganda or Vice-President Edward Ssekandi can even use one of them. So they spending a on this while medicines are missing or empty at a time or another.

The MPs salaries, the MPs Allowance and the MPs wish to exempt their salaries from Tax. Together with appropriating lots of funds for travelling for days to the United States and Boston for a Seminar; together with the extended funds for burials, this is happening so they can have an extravagant lifestyle into the casket.

This is happening while the government institutions and programs are weak or nearly non-existence. They have surely ghosts like the ghost SACCO Mzee gave to a non-existing organization. While the MPs representing their people are living like royals in the National Assembly with fancy cars and houses while the unemployment levels are still strong and the educations of their kids are made by teachers who can’t even write. This shouldn’t be happening, but apparently it is.

The Governance is not really happening. Because the government are not steering towards any place, they are walking on clouds and not taking steps to change the deteriorating state of education and health care.

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This is happening while the Government are adding more debt and is by end of the year having over UGX 26 Trillion. This is happening while the Roads Development that been borrowed to Uganda National Roads Authority from the World Bank has been suspended. So the worsen economic situation together with lack of funds for fiscal cash proves the weakness of the economy and the national policies.

This is happening also while the Ugandan Government has to tackle more refugees in Adjumani and other districts towards South Sudan as the neighbour continues with internal fighting. This together with the fluid borders into Democratic Republic of Congo. This has been done with armies and guerrillas in the past to get resources something that has led to another expensive debt to DRC for the Ugandan State.

So the mismanagement and maladministration of the Movement that have had the time to fix it has apparently been more sucked into their own rich-elite oblivion instead of serving their people. That is why the MPs are so into fixing themselves up nicely while the other are living in midst of utter poverty. So the debt is rising and inflation is rising. So the value of shilling isn’t worth much while the imports are more needed. NRM Regime is not having a fiscal policy as they are loose with spending without having secured funding. While making grand plans without having the output to secure borrowing…

I am sure there more things that could be discussed, but this is more than enough for today. As the proof is in the pudding; the budget and the inflated expenses of the Parliament shows how little accountability and transparency of their acts are. This is with the knowledge of months after the General Election 2016… the State House we’re broke right after for those that forgotten. Since the State House had used it resources in the Campaign that cost fortunes and after the election they had to get funds to pay the running expenses.

You think the government should be carrying itself better after been ruling for 30 years, but they are not. They are running like lackeys thieving the little pieces they can instead of building. Therefore the MPs are running the mill like the ability is only counted for when they are pocketed. That is why the greed of getting brown-envelopes is coming when the Mzee needs bills to pass. They get both monies and valuable produce to sell after being in the National Assembly. So with this in mind, the Speaker Rebecca Kadaga should silence herself and take care of her people instead of blaming the media… because they account to the people and the MPs should be more careful spending taxpayer’s monies, instead they use the budget for their own sake and not for the citizens who bleed for this. Peace.

MPs Want 85 Billion Shillings for Cars (Youtube-Clip)

“In the 9th parliament, the Parliamentary Commission gave each legislature 103 million shillings to procure vehicles that meet their standards as members of Parliament . The story of the 10th parliament is different as the new legislators now want this fee almost doubled. They are now asking for 200 million shillings and if approved then the government will have to part with a total of 85.4 billion shillings for the vehicles alone. They argue that given the state of economy and the new taxes that were imposed on Vehicles, this increment is justified. The new legislators also demand for the reinstatement of the Constituency Development fund that were scrapped in the 9th Parliament. Before scrapping of the fund each legislator was being given 10 million shillings cash annually for the development of his constituency. The legislators also demand for an increment in their monthly emoluments from 26 to 50 million shillings. If Parliament is to pay 50 million shillings per legislator, the Parliamentary commission will then be mandated to spend 21.3 billion shillings on the emoluments of the 427 legislators per month. So before the new legislators can have even their first sitting, these are the demands and before we know it, they will definitely be more than this” (NBS TV Uganda, 2016)

MPs threaten to increase their pay if they are denied tax exemption (Youtube-Clip)

Statement on the Income Tax (Amendment) Bill 2016 Provision Exempting Members of Parliament from Paying Taxes on their Emoluments (18.04.2016)

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The Amendment of the Income Tax Act in Uganda; is the first out of many freedoms that the Members of Parliament have given themselves

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It’s been hectic around the Amendment for the Income Tax that has opened the possibility for Members of Parliament and the ones on Diplomatic Missions to not be paying the Income Tax in Uganda. There been an outrage on Social Media, therefore I started to look into it. First will I add the specific amendment that was voted in Parliament now in April 2016, that’s give’s the Members of Parliament no Income Tax, because older laws already gives them Immunity. Certainly this is gift basket to the coming 10th Parliament, as the 9th Parliament gives a tax-break to themselves, as they already have certain obligations and other services provided by law; and that is not so strange they are the makers of laws, so they have made laws that fits them and gives them advantages.

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Orignal Law before the Amendment:

93. Cases where returns of income not required

Unless requested by the Commissioner by notice in writing, no return of income shall be

furnished under this Act for a year of income-

(a) by a nonresident person where subsection (4) of section 4 or paragraph (c) of

section 87 or both apply to all the income derived from sources in Uganda by

the person during the year of income; or (effective 1st July, 2001- Income Tax

(Amendment) Act, 2002)

(b) by a resident individual-

(i) to whom section 4 (4) applies; or (effective 1st July, 2001- Income Tax

(Amendment) Act, 2002)

(ii) whose total chargeable income for the year of income is subject to the

zero rate of tax under Part I of the Third Schedule to this Act!” (The Income Tax Act, 1st July, 1997)

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Here is the what the Amendment of 2016 does to this section:

“Unless requested by the Commissioner by notice in writing, no return of income shall be

furnished under this Act for a year of income-

(a) by a nonresident person where subsection (4) of section 4 or paragraph (c) of

section 87 or both apply to all the income derived from sources in Uganda by

the person during the year of income; or (effective 1st July, 2001- Income Tax

(Amendment) Act, 2002)

(b) by a resident individual-

(i) to whom section 4(4) applies, except persons employed by diplomatic missions and prescribed organisations on which diplomatic immunities and privileges are conferred;”. (effective 1st July 2016 – Income Tax (Amendment) Act 2016)

(ii) whose total chargeable income for the year of income is subject to the

zero rate of tax under Part I of the Third Schedule to this Act!”

So with the important Amendment to the Tax law tha set the standard for the Diplomatic Immunities and Privileges. They are no except from the Income Tax. That means that the Income or Pay that they are getting so not taxed or their salary is now Tax-Free.

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And as this complies with Scetion 4 (4) here is what that says:

“4. Income tax imposed:

(4) Where the gross income of a taxpayer for a year of income consists exclusively of

employment income derived from a single employer from which tax has been withheld as

required under section 116, the income tax payable by the taxpayer for the year of income

is the amount equal to the sum of the amounts required to be withheld from such income

under section 116” (The Income Tax Act, 1st July, 1997).

So just to take the last piece of law to put this all together and give meaning while it have created a fuzz and been question what this part of law means that people with Diplomatic Immunity get exception from Income Tax. Even if the Third Part of Law says that people who lives most of the days in Uganda have to pay Income in Uganda, but with this new text to the law, that certain people are exempt and doesn’t have to cough-up the money.

This is what the Parliament (Power and Privileges) Act of 1955 of 24th February 1955 say this in the act:

“2. Immunity from legal proceedings.

No civil or criminal proceedings may be instituted against any member for words spoken before, or written in a report to, Parliament or to a committee, or by reason of any matter or thing brought by the member in Parliament or a committee by petition, bill, motion or otherwise” ( Parliament (Powers and Privileges) Act 1955).

Internal Memo Uganda Parliament 2013

And lets not forget this act to called Parliament (Remuneration of Members) Act 1981, that is still active and give certain benefits the Members of Parliament. It came into effect on 1st July 1981 and is still active and this is what it says:

“4. Regulations:

“amenities” includes housing, transport, medical attention, domestic servants, security guards and secretarial services;

“Minister” means the Minister responsible for public service and Cabinet affairs”, (Parliament (Remuneration of Members) Act 1981).

So they have no cut the Income Tax because the Parliament Law of 1955 gives the Immunity and therefore are they under the provision of the exemption. That is not surprising, but that is a fact. So it is clear that the end of 9th Parliament will be self-serving an in their own interest and not for any common-good for the people.  And the ability of still having colonial laws that are active and not terminated is a little profound for me. As the NRM Regime have tried to rewrite everything, but seems that certain relics of the past is a good thing, if it gives them more power or ability to harass the opposition or control fellow peers. The Immunity of Members of Parliament together with Amenities and now the exception of Income Tax proves the levels of positive acts that are made for MPs to be able to paid salaries and amenties without paying Income Tax. That is astonishing and questionable. That the Minister of Parliament can get funding for housing, transport, medical attention, servants, securities and sectorial services without paying Income Tax on the Salary that are getting. With the benefit of Immunity!

So some laws from the Colonial Past and one law made by Obote II gives an edge together with the new amendment of a law made two years after the “Museveni Constitution” of 1995. Certainly there some ironies that the Members of Parliament are getting funded amenities under the NRM Regime because of President Obote and his UNLA and UPC fixed it 5 years before NRA overthrow them. But that is just me.

The levels of self-serving is just continuing the traditions in the Ugandan Parliament. This is all the way from 1955 to 2016. It might be 50 years apart, still the same mentality is there and the men of power wish to extent their power, if it is immunity, impunity or exception from taxes. The same powers and same common greed is there. As showed in the laws that inflicts the Cabinet and the Members of Parliament. Peace.  

Statement by Center for Constitutional Governance on the 20th Anniversary of the 1995 Constitution of Uganda (08.10.2015)

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Today marks the 20th Anniversary of the 1995 Constitution as Amended. Many, if not all African countries have Constitutions. It is one thing to have a Constitution; it is another to practice Constitutionalism.
Constitutionalism presupposes three things:
i) A belief in the Constitution by many political parties and political leaders. If the main political actors do not believe in Constitutionalism, you may have a constitution as a mere document with no constitutionalism;
ii) Recognition of its importance by the main actors in the citizenry or population. If the Constitution is of relevance to a few people in the capital, in the political parties or academia; then you cannot have constitutionalism where there is no minimum consciousness by major actors amongst the population.

iii) Presence of organized political forces that are not only interested in constitutionalism but are ready to defend it.
Once you don’t have the above three elements, you cannot have constitutionalism – a belief needed by the major political actors, recognition of its importance by the citizens or its major actors and the presence of organized political forces that are prepared to defend it. If these tenets are not present, constitutionalism becomes an academic or religious ritual; the way like many people say “our father who art in heaven, or hail Mary full of grace”.
A constitution may also become a ritual if the above elements are not present among the political leaders, among the citizen and if there are no organized political forces prepared to defend it
The passing of the Constitutional Amendment Bill, 2015 yesterday, 11th August 2015 by majority MPs, after totally dis regarding the peoples’ views amounted to an overthrow of the 1995 Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, as amended.

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The spirit of the Constitution is enshrined in its preamble and paragraph 5 of that preamble states that: EXERCISING our sovereign and inalienable right to determine the form of governance for our country, and having fully participated in the Constitution-making process. The sovereign and inalienable right of Uganda was usurped by the MPs through the failure of the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee of Parliament to integrate peoples’ views in their report and the subsequent total disregard of the peoples’ views by the whole House.
What we have in place after the 4th Amendment is a New Constitution that has no consensus of the people, which does not represent the peoples’ views and aspirations of the people on how they would like to be governed. This was in fact the birth of the 2nd “Pigeon Hole Constitution” of the Republic of Uganda.
Faced with a rubber stamp Parliament which ignores peoples views and goes ahead to amend the National Constitution ,the people of Uganda should therefore, strive to restore constitutional order premised on peoples’ views and aspirations on how they wish to be governed. We call upon the people to elect MPs that will respect their allegiance to the Constitution and commit to restore the sovereign and inalienable right of Ugandans by setting up a qualified Constitutional Review Commission to restore the supremacy of the people
FOR GOD AND MY COUNTRY.