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MTN Uganda faces up to 169 Counts of Tax Evasion

Thirteen Directors of the MTN Uganda including the South Africa-based top honcho Sifiso Dabengwa face up to 169 counts of evading taxes of up to Shs 70bn, false declaration and conspiracy to falsify declaration.

The suit arose after a former MTN logistic officer, Naphtali Were, dragged the company directors to court and secured criminal summons against them. Those wanted include MTN Uganda Chairman Charles Mbire, Chief Executive Office Mazen Mroue, board members Khumo Sehoole and Mozipho January Dardil. Others are: the corporation secretary, Anthony Mutyaba Katamba; Chief Finance Officer Mike Blackburn and his predecessor, Nigel Williams, as well as a former procurement manager, Mervvin Immelman and his replacement, Francis Terffoute.

Buganda Road court had summoned Mbire, Mroue, Katamba and Foute to appear in court last Wednesday, but no-one showed up. Although the media were locked out of Wednesday’s proceedings, The Observer has learnt that state attorney, Martin Rukundo, told the Chief Magistrate that the Director of Public Prosecutions, Richard Buteera, had asked to take over the prosecution, a matter opposed by Were’s legal team.

In addition, Were’s lawyers also want arrest warrants for Mbire, Mroue, Katamba and Foute. Ruling on the two matters will be made tomorrow. Those privy to the plaint indicate that MTN Uganda declared nil tax in two of the instances back in July instead of paying in the excess of Shs 178m. The telephony company, reputed to be the biggest in Uganda, also declared nil tax in September instead of paying Shs 19m.

In their submission, MTN has dismissed the tax evasion suit as baseless and insisted that Were is suing out of revenge after being accused of stealing $4.1m from the firm. Were denies this.

The Observer Newspaper

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