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{UAH} How Mbabazi Landed Wavamuno In Trouble

By Nancy Ahebwa

You could be wondering what led to the crumbling of tycoon Gordon Wavamunno's Business Empire! Wonder no more because Spy Reports has landed on info which might put your wandering thoughts at rest.

The once revered moneybags who would sneeze and the economy catches the cold has of recent gone down under. First was his once popular TV station – WBS, which faced financial hiccups and before we knew it, it had been taken over by tax body, URA in April 2016. Although speculation was rife that the TV station had crumbled under the weight of stiff competition from rival TV stations, it later emerged that actually Wavah Broadcasting Services (WBS) had failed to clear tax arrears amounting to Shs7.2billion.

This after evading taxes for 10 good years. In the 10 years of WBS' tax evasion, it is said that Wavamunno – commonly known as Wavah – was still untouchable because of his closeness to President Museveni.


The two eminent gentlemen enjoyed a long cordial relationship which bordered on both business and politics, as it is said that Wavah was a strong NRM ideologue.

But the bitter split emerged when Museveni learnt of some secretive deal between the mogul, who owns Spear Motors Company Limited which imports vehicles from overseas, and his former Prime Minister turned political rival, John Patrick Amama Mbabazi (JPAM).

"Wavamunno lost WBS TV to URA because of his underground business ties with former presidential contestant, Amama Mbabazi, during the last presidential elections," a highly placed Spy told our reporter a few days back.

The Spy added: "Before the campaigns started, Mbabazi met with Wavamunno to broker a business deal. Mbabazi wanted to procure vehicles and motorcycles for his strategic campaign agents across the country. The deal was that Wavah would ship in the cars and motorcycles for Mbabazi, which would later be distributed to the campaign agents."

Unfortunately for Wavah, security operatives busted the clandestine deal before the two could put pen to paper and immediately briefed President Museveni.

"After the briefing, Museveni instructed his aide to connect him to Wavah through switchboard," revealed the Spy. "The President contacted his wealthy friend and asked him about the Intel he had received. He later told Wavah to decline the deal but he refused, saying that as a businessman, there was no way he could turn down such a lucrative business deal."

Museveni reportedly tried to convince Wavah that he would pay the money which Mbabazi had promised to give him for the cars after elections, but the shrewd entrepreneur did not take heed of the President's advice.

"He went on with the deal and shipped in some motor vehicles which were later impounded by URA," the Spy intimated.

This was of course bad news to the tycoon, who reportedly came up with contingency measures, notably he refused to attend the State House dinner organized by the President for all NRM well-wishers to fundraise for the construction of the NRM House. At the dinner, Shs.16billion was raised for the cause. But as his wealthy cronies like struggling Tycoon Sudhir Ruparelia forked out Shs.3.3bn at the fundraising dinner, Wavah was reportedly somewhere sulking over his foiled lucrative deal.

It would seem however that Wavah's troubles had just started. A few days later after the fundraising dinner at state house, Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) – in a bid to ensure tax compliance – released a list of top tax defaulters and Wavah topped the list.

In total, the tycoon at the time owed the tax body up to Shs.6billion out of Shs.10.5billion it demanded in arrears from all defaulters. His WBS Television had its Pay as You Earn [PAYE] and Value Added Taxes [VAT] accumulate to Shs.4, 982,122,514, whereas his Wavah Water owed URA Shs.528m.

As if that was not bad enough, the no-nonsense URA officers issued a one week ultimatum to all defaulters to clear their arrears or face stern action.

"This is to remind the under listed taxpayers to pay their overdue tax arrears under the Memoranda of Understanding which they respectively signed with the Uganda Revenue Authority by Friday the 08th of January 2016. URA shall upon expiry of the aforesaid notice period commence vigorous enforcement actions against all the listed defaulters and/or their respective guarantors for the entire outstanding liabilities plus any accumulated interests thereon without any further notice at the defaulters' own costs and unnecessary embarrassment," cautioned URA.

The one week ultimatum elapsed minus the tycoon submitting a single penny. WBS was consequently put under receivership before it was later sold to Zimbabwe tycoon of Kwese Television broadcasting sports only.

It is suffice to note that in 2015, more than 200 motorcycles belonging to businessman Joseph Ssemango were seized by security operatives and Uganda Revenue Authority.

URA impounded the 202 Sanyo motorcycles on August 28, 2015 for alleged tax evasion, but intelligence operatives believed they were destined for Mbabazi's campaign team, Go Forward.

Before the motorcycles were impounded, the owner received several phone calls from unknown people asking him whether he was planning to sell motorcycles to Mbabazi and warned him against doing so.

The following day, URA enforcement officers led by James Tumwesigye went to Ssemango's business premises at Nateete and took away at least 164 motorcycles. More 38 motorcycles were taken from Bwaise, Ssemango's other outlet.

He was later advised to appeal to President Museveni for the release of his goods after meeting with URA officials at their head offices in Nakawa.

Allaah gives the best to those who leave the choice to Him."And if Allah touches you with harm, none can remove it but He, and if He touches you with good, then He is Able to do all things." (6:17)

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