URA’s commissioner for tax investigations Patrick Mukiibi said such crimes are “complex and difficult” to prosecute, adding that there is a need for the enactment of strict cyber laws and awareness campaigns if the crime is to be “successfully” combated.
He said capacity building should be stressed to the law enforcers and the judges to ensure they have forensic investigations and prosecutorial expertise as well as adequate knowledge on the crime.
According to Lawrence Gidudu, the executive director of the Judicial Studies Institute, training of magistrates and other judicial officers in cyber crime will start in March.
Mukiibi warned that “all computer operations are susceptible to the crime and that there is the need to lay down mechanisms for investigation and prosecution of the offences”.
“Cyber crime is real. URA got hacked leading to an estimated sh2b tax loss in vehicle registrations. The Government websites have been defaced in the recent past and telecom companies and banks are grappling with the same challenge,” he said, as quoted by New Vision, adding that financial fraud is rampant in banks but the institutions do not make it public for fear losing trust of their customers.
Commenting on the incidence of cybercime in East Africa, Mukiibi said the East African Community (EAC) has seen showed efforts by enacting cyber laws and called for the commitment of the member states to fight the vice.
Principal Judge Yorokamu Bamwine hailed the URA for the initiative to train the judges, saying it will ensure magistrates play an important role in the recovery of revenue.
URA Commissioner General Allen Kagina said the taxman has sh564.9b worth of revenue tied up in cases before different courts of law. She added that the delay in disposing of the cases affects the businesses of taxpayers and consequently revenue collection.
“Whereas we are grateful for the improved services in the judiciary, I will still humbly ask for more, especially in relation to the rate of disposal of cases. As a tax collector, such figures obviously concern me,” Kagina said, as quoted by New Vision.