Court drops mobile money tax case against telecom firms        

Mr. Eron Kiiza, the lawyer to John Robert Turyakira and Anthony Odur who had petitioned High Court challenging the mobile money tax appeared before the Court hearing on Monday. The case has been dropped. (Photo by Racheal Agaba)

KAMPALA – High Court judge Musa Sekaana has dropped the case against three telecom companies which were sued for illegally collecting mobile money tax from their customers.

The lawyers of the three companies; MTN, Airtel and Africell informed court today that they are wrongly sued and should not have appeared in court since they are just enforcers that simply put into action what the Uganda Revenue Authority(URA) tells them.

“This application has been withdrawn against 2(MTN), 3(Airtel) and 4(Africell) respondents and the application for withdraw is here by granted since it was a public interest litigation which sought to correct the wrong that was thought to have been made,” Justice Sekaana said.

Two concerned Ugandans John Robert Turyakira and Anthony Odur petitioned High Court’s civil division in Kampala, challenging the mobile money tax which they say is an infringement on fundamental human rights guaranteed by the 1995 constitution

In the petition through their lawyer Eron Kiiza, the two sued Uganda Revenue Authority and all Ugandan Telecom companies which collect the tax from their customers.

Court this morning ordered Mr Kiiza to file his written submissions by September 17, URA by October 1, a rejoinder of the submissions by October 15 and the final ruling will be delivered on November 16.

The petitioners want court to issue an order requiring URA through the various mobile money providers to refund with interest, all taxes collected from deposits made on mobile money on their accounts, before this tax was reverted.

“The conduct of the respondents is not only wrong and erroneous but also unfair, illegal and unreasonable. The respondents have no legal basis to continue holding unto property of those who deposited mobile money since 1st July 2018,” Mr Kiiza said.

He also told court that much as some people were refunded, they may have not yet gotten their money and that there is no evidence to show that it has been refunded.





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