By Ayub Kirinya
row has erupted between Mbale City authorities and Property Developers within the city over the collection of property rates taxes.
The Property Developers now want government through the office of the 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.
According to them, they pay the taxes but what shocks them is hearing city authorities tell them that this money doesn’t reach the city account.
Since last week, the city authorities have been sealing off premises of landlords in demand for the property rate taxes, a move that did not go well with the owners claiming their tenants have made losses as a result of the closure of their businesses.
James Wakadala, a Proprietor of Mbale Resort Hotel said council and its Town Agents are charging property rate taxes at a new valuation which 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 their paying of any tax for the last five years. He said that regardless of the city council levying high property rate tax onto them, they don’t see what this tax does but instead see garbage being littered on the roads yet these funds would assist in cleaning the city.
Isima Mukankadi, the workers’ councilor and Abdul Aziz Sharaf who represents Industrial Division said that the mess in the property rate tax collection process in this city is caused by the hungry people sent to the field to collect taxes. These according to them end up negotiating with tax payers and at the end the agreed amount is put into their pockets instead of depositing the funds on 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 on only one city council account.