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CRIME

Police nets 12 in crackdown on fake accountants

Mr. Zaid Kasule, the proprietor of Kasule and Co. Certified Public Accountants Ltd was also arrested during the clampdown in Kamwokya.(PHOTO: Police)

KAMPALA– Police in Kampala have on July 16 arrested a dozen of people for allegedly faking qualifications and practicing illegal accountancy. It has also closed seven accounting firms in the city during a crackdown on quack accountants.

Closed firms include, United Professional Bureau, Waks and Waks, Accounts Plus Uganda Ltd, ACCO Accountants and Auditors, Kasule & Company Certified Public Accountant, Bold and Associate and Pro-Biz Consultants.

During the clampdown, the police found out that many individuals are holding out as accountants yet they are unqualified and their credentials are questionable.

CPA spokesperson John Ssegendo said that they estimate about 5,000 individuals holding out as accountants are either unqualified or practicing without license in breach of the law.

“After the outcry from the genuine accountants about the escalating numbers of those masquerading, we mounted a quality review programme and we established that a number of fake accountants and companies had flooded the market. We have to put an end to this,” He said.

Mr. Ssengendo said police found out that those accountants with questionable credentials charge lower rates to undercut the professionals as others help companies to falsify business or financial records to reduce tax liability.

He reveals that “According to Section 35(1) of the Accountants Act, 2013, a person shall not practice accountancy in Uganda without a certificate of practice”.

According to Mr. Ssegendo, the membership certificate for an accountants costs Shs1m, annual certificate renewal at Shs400, 000 while a practicing license costs Shs1.2m a year.

However, the provision imposes a fine of up to Shs10m or a two-year imprisonment on illegal practitioners.

The Criminal Investigation Directorate spokesperson, Mr. Vincent Ssekatte said that last evening detectives were recording statements from the 12 suspects. He added that they plan to arraign the suspects in court within the week.

“It is the mandate of the CPA to accredit the accountants and companies, hence even if one knows how to balance financial books, without the practicing license and membership certificate, they are rendered fake and we are going to deal with them,” He said.

He added that, “Suspects are to be charged of forgery, and the clampdown exercise will continue until the fake accountants are out of the field”.

The clampdown by the police together with Institute of Certified Public Accountants is expected to widen to other parts of the country to weed out fraudsters.

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