By Our Reporter
The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has ordered the immediate trial of businessman Hassan Basajjabalaba and his brother over tax evasion worth Shs20 billion.
DPP Jane Frances Abodo directed the head of the anti-corruption department in her office to immediately handle a December 7 complaint filed by Legal Brains Trust’s Isaac Ssemakadde over the delayed trial of the brothers despite court rulings.
Ssemakadde demanded an explanation as to why the DPP has been silent about resuming the trial for Basajjabalaba and his brother, Muzamiru Basajjabalaba yet the Supreme Court which had been the cause for the stalling of the trial for about seven years, has since okayed its resumption through its November 19, 2021 ruling.
“We are concerned by the conspicuous silence of your esteemed office since then, why haven’t you taken out criminal summons against the suspects to commence and conclude this very important trial?” wrote Ssemakadde.
But in her response to Ssemakadde’s petition, Abodo acknowledges receipt and promises to handle the matter expeditiously.
“Please handle the complaint accordingly and give feedback to the complainant and also keep me updated on your decision,” reads the December 9 letter.
The DPP adds: “By copy of this letter, the complainant is advised to make a follow up with your office on this matter.”
Trouble for the brothers started way back in 2011 when government decided to compensate Basajjabalaba with Shs142 billion for the damages caused to him after his lease contracts to develop and manage five city markets was cancelled.
Basajjabalaba was allegedly supposed to pay a tax worth Shs20 billion but failed and was accordingly charged in the Anti-Corruption court, remanded and later given bail together with his brother with whom they were accused of conspiring to evade tax, forgery of a court order, and uttering a false document.
But the brothers challenged the legality of their trial in the Constitutional court and their case was dismissed and an order for immediate trial issued.
The same decision was confirmed by the Supreme Court on November 19 in a majority decision of 6-1. In March 2020, the Constitutional court justices led by Kenneth Kakuru ordered Basajjabalaba and his companies to refund to the government all the money that was illegally paid to him as compensation for losing the tender to manage five city markets.
The justices noted that the compensation monies were paid to Basajjabalaba and his companies illegally following a contract that he had entered into with the defunct Kampala City Council without the advice of the attorney general.