Over 10 patients together with their attendants were trapped inside Tobin Health Center, a private clinic belonging to the Abayudaya congregation, in Mbale after URA officials sealed off the facility in a tax recovery crackdown.
The clinic administration has dismissed URA’s tax claims saying it is a private non-profit.
Dr. Masaba Banil, the in-charge of the facility suspects a sinister motive behind the move.
Abayudaya congregation is a religious sect led by Bungokho North MP Rabi Sizomu Gershom Wambedde.
URA officials together with a team of bailiffs from Bailif Master LTD raided the facility and sealed it off with all the patients, attendants, and health workers inside.
The bailiffs presented a warrant of distress under the hand of the former Ag. Commissioner General, Patience Rubagumya.
The raid came amidst a pending meeting between the regional tax authorities and the clinic to resolve the stalemate.
“This morning I went for a meeting with the regional bosses and we agreed that somewhere somehow we were not informed of how the systems are working and we agreed to meet on Monday for a thorough discussion,” Dr. Masaba claimed.
“But suddenly, they came back, very rough and they ordered everyone to get out. This is very bad, it means that URA has no respect for humanity, if they can come to a health facility and disperse patients who have come for treatment.”
“They wanted me to curry patients in my car and take them to the main hospital, and I told them that the referral system is not like carrying luggage, I cannot refer patients for the reason of taxes.”
According to a copy of the warrant dated 17th march 2020 the Ag. URA boss instructed the bailiffs to recover shillings from Tobin Health Center.
Masaba dismissed URA income tax claims saying that the clinic is a private not for profit.
Incoming patients and visitors to the patients already inside the facility who were also stranded at the entrance condemned the conduct of the tax body.
Tobin Health Center is registered as a religious, private not for profit institution meant to deliver free health services to the Abayudaya congregation.