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Mbale City Authorities, Property Developers Clash Over Property Rate Taxes

There is a dispute between the Mbale City authorities and property developers within the city over the collection of property rates taxes. Property developers are urging the government through the Office of the Inspectorate of Government (IGG) and the State House Anti-Corruption Unit to intervene in the tax collection wrangles in the city, claiming that there is mismanagement of funds during collection.

The property developers claim that they pay the taxes but are shocked to hear that the city authorities tell them that this money doesn’t reach the city’s account. Since last week, the city authorities have been sealing off the premises of the landlords demanding property rate taxes, a move that has not gone well with the owners, who claim that their tenants have suffered losses as a result of the closure of their businesses.

James Wakadala, the proprietor of Mbale Resort Hotel, said that the council and its town agents are charging property rate taxes at a new valuation that is not approved by the Mbale City Council and the Minister of Local Government.

Richard Kabala, the manager of Plot 34 on Republic Street, said that the city authorities surprised them when they told them that the city council has no records of paying any tax for the last five years. He said that regardless of the city council levying high property rate tax on them, they don’t see what this tax does but instead see garbage being littered on the roads, yet these funds could be used to clean the city.

Isima Mukankadi, the workers’ councilor, and Abdul Aziz Sharaf, who represents the Industrial Division, said that the mess in the property rate tax collection process in this city is due to the corrupt officials sent to the field to collect taxes. They end up negotiating with taxpayers and putting the agreed amount into their pockets instead of depositing the funds into council accounts.

The Mbale city clerk, Ambrose Ocen, admitted that there has been a big gap between the taxpayers and the destination of that tax, and one of the measures he has taken is to close all the city division accounts so that taxes are paid into only one city council account.

URN

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