Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) has closed Lira hotel over accumulated tax arrears amounting up to Shs 173 million.
The 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 URN they decided to close the hotel following the failure by management to clear outstanding tax arrears.
Rumanyika explains that Lira hotel has failed to remit taxes amounting to Shs 176.3 million since 2012. These include value added tax, income tax, incorporation tax and PAYE.
He says the hotel owes the tax body Shs 130.1 million in VAT and Shs 27.2 million in incorporation tax among others.
The hotel manager declined to speak to journalists on the matter. Attempts by URN 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 government hotels. Shower Trade Limited procured the hotel during the privatization process.