The Court of Appeal has upheld the sentences of two former employees of Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), Dominic Mugerwa and Abias Muhwezi who were convicted on corruption charges by the Anti-Corruption Court with abuse of office.
The duo has been sentenced by the Anti-Corruption Court to five years on each count of abuse of office, 10 years on each count of causing financial loss and two years on each count of presenting false claims.
The Court of Appeal presided over by Justice Geoffrey Kiryabwire, Lady Justice Catherine Bamugemereire and Justice Remmy Kasule dismissed the appeal, confirming the conviction and sentence of the High Court.
The appellants were ordered to serve 5 years imprisonment on each count of abuse of office, 10 years imprisonment on each count of causing financial loss, and 2 years imprisonment on each count of false claims by officials.
In 2016, the duo were charged of causing financial loss to the tax body contrary to the provisions of the Anti-Corruption Act, 2009.
Each of these offences had seven counts, making a total of 27 counts charged. They both pleaded not guilty.
The prosecution alleges that between the months of January 2014 to September 2014, the duo irregularly approved VAT refund payments of shs 6,452,116,773 to M/S Rising Star Commodities Ltd.
The said company had purportedly exported brown sugar it bought from Kakira Sugar Works Ltd to a Kenyan Company- Gemini Traders Ltd.
Muhwezi was responsible for preparing audit plans, auditing, and verifying taxpayers’ claims for VAT refund, while Mugerwa was responsible for approving the audit plans, and VAT refund/payment.
The trial court presided over by Justice Paul Mugamba found the duo guilty and handed out the sentences.
Being aggrieved and dissatisfied with their conviction and sentence, the duo lodged an appeal in the Court of appeal, challenging both conviction and sentence which they have lost.