Court name
Commercial Court of Uganda
Judgment date
22 September 2011

Stanbic Bank (U) Ltd v Commissioner General Uganda Revenue Authority (Miscellaneous Application-2010/42) [2011] UGCommC 103 (22 September 2011);

Cite this case
[2011] UGCommC 103

THE REPUBLIC OF UGANDA

IN THE COURT OF UGANDA AT KAMPALA

(COMMERCIAL DIVISION)

MISCELLANEOUS APPLICATION NO.0042 OF 2010

(Arising from civil suit No.0479 of 2010)

1. STANBIC BANK (U) LTD

2. JACOBSEN UGANDA POWER        :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::APPLICANTS

            PLANT COMPANY LTD          

VERSUS

THE COMMISSIONER GENERAL

UGANDA REVENUE AUTHORITY ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::RESPONDENT

 

BEFORE: HON. LADY JUSTICE IRENE MULYAGONJA KAKOOZA

                                                RULING

The applicants brought this application under the provisions of s.98 of the Civil Procedure Act (CPA), s.33 of the Judicature Act anti Order 52 rules 1 and 2 of the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR). They sought for the determination of the question whether the respondent’s enforcement of its Agency Notice (Ref B02-1010-0165-M) through threats of prosecution of the 1st applicants Managing Director, which led to payment of shs. 2,562,505,534/= was in contempt of court of this court’s interim order, which was issued on 18/12/2009, staying execution of the same Agency Notice. If the question was answered in the positive, the applicants sought for an order that the respondent be appropriately punished for the alleged contempt by payment of the exemplary/punitive damages.

The application was supported by the affidavits of Gertrude Wamala Karugaba, the Head Legal Services of the 1st applicant (hereinafter “Stanbic”) and dated 7/01/2010; and that of Dag Moen, the Managing Director of the 2nd (hereinafter “Jacobsen”) of the same date.

The respondent filled an affidavit in reply deposed on 18/02/2010 by Silajje Kanyesigye, the Manager Medium Taxpayers Office of the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) on 18/02/2010.

The background to the application was that on 19/12/2009, Jacobsen, a private company engaged in the generation of electricity in Uganda sued the Commissioner General of the Uganda Revenue Authority (hereinafter “the Commissioner General”) in HCCS No.497 of 2010 in this Court. She sought for a declaration that the tax assessment dated 17/07/2009 for Jacobsen to pay shs.14,376,624,376/= as Value Added Tax (VAT) and an additional penalty of shs.1,622,748,615/= was illegal. She claimed so because Uganda Electricity Transmission Company (UETCL), to whom she supplied power, had insisted that part of the sales to her were exempt from the tax. She thus sought for an injunction to restrain the Commissioner General from enforcing measures to collect the tax and prayed for general damages and the costs of the suit.

On the same day, Jacobsen filed M/A No 726 of 2009 against the Commissioner General in this court for an order for temporary injunction. She also filed M/A No.727 of 2009 for an interim order to restrain the Commissioner General and/or her agents or servants from enforcing any further tax collection measures against Jacobsen until final hearing and determination of M/A 726 of 2009, of any other bank that may have been appointed agents or servants from demanding payment and/or enforcing any tax collection measures in respect of the assessment of 17/07/2009, until the final determination of M/A 727 of 2009, but that did not happen. Subsequent to the interim stay order, Stanbic was forced to pay the monies demanded according to the Agency Notice, and so this application.

In her affidavit in support of the application, Ms. Karugaba averred that late in the afternoon of 1512/2009 the impugned Agency Notice was served upon Stanbic to pay up to shs. 17,664,600,583/= from bank accounts held by Stanbic for Jacobsen. That Stanbic sought to verify the authenticity of the said Agency Notice and sent it to their lawyers for that purpose but they also took measures to freeze