By Keefa Nuwahereza
A team of Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) operatives on Friday sealed off Yaket International Limited, the manufacturers of mineral water that bears singer Spice Diana’s picture, after gathering intelligence that the Company managers were using the COVID-19 lockdown to flout Digital Stamps regulations.
The URA Domestic Taxes Enforcement Unit, working on solid intelligence, moved in on Yaket International Limited, the manufacturers of Yaket Mineral Water and found the company producing and packaging unstamped water at their premises in Gayaza.
The enforcement team also established that the factory was running two production lines churning out unstamped bottled water while two trucks were found on the road conveying unstamped water from the factory. Seven trucks were also found loading unstamped water for distribution to the market.
The company’s stock room too contained unstamped water while the company failed to provide documents required to be maintained by a VAT registered taxpayer manufacturing excisable products and the Excise Registration Certificate.
Failure to provide these documents is a prosecutable offence which warrants a penalty.
Four people were arrested in connection to this crime, a case file opened, statements taken from a company representative and the nine truck drivers intercepted while production and sale of Yaket Mineral water was put on hold.
The production area and the stock room with unstamped water were both sealed off. Search certificates were also obtained for the stock found in the two depots in Kireka also found selling unstamped water purchased from Yaket International Limited.
The goods impounded on the trucks and in the stores were worth over Shs 1.9 Billion with tax approximated at Shs569 Million.
Manufacturers are warned against taking advantage of the lockdown to commit crimes. Traders are also urged to desist from stocking unstamped gazetted excisable products. The public is encouraged to always check for the digital tax stamps before purchasing these items.
The Gazetted excisable items upon which digital tax stamps must be affixed include wines, spirits, mineral water, soda, beer and tobacco products.
URA commenced implementation of Digital Tax Stamps on 1st November , 2019 to combat the production, importation and supply of counterfeit goods and to also boost domestic revenue (excise duty collections).
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