Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) has closed Lira Hotel over accumulated tax arrears. Lira Hotel belongs to Shower Trade Limited, which is owned by Sam Engola, the former State Minister for Housing and Urban Development.
On Monday, a team of URA officials backed by Police stormed the Hotel that is located just opposite Lira Golf Course and dispersed all the staff before sealing off the main entrance with a protective seal.
They also put a huge padlock on the door to the entrance. “This place is sealed off over debts. For more information, call URA on………. Take notice that tempering with this seal is a criminal offense,” read a notice left behind by the URA team. Lira hotel employs about 60 staff.
Ian Muhimbise Rumanyika, the URA Public and Corporate Affairs Manager told our reporter they decided to close the hotel following the failure by management to clear outstanding tax arrears. Muhimbishe explains that Lira hotel has failed to remit taxes amounting to Shillings 176. 3million since 2012. These include Value Added Tax, Income Tax, incorporation Tax and PAYE.
He says the hotel owes the tax body Shillings 130.1 million in VAT and Shillings 27. 2 million in incorporation tax among others. The hotel manager declined to speak to journalists on the matter. Attempts by this publication to speak to Sam Engola, the proprietor of Lira Hotel were futile as he didn’t pick our repeated calls.
Lira Hotel was part of the prestigious Uganda hotels. Shower Trade Limited procured the hotel during the privatization process.