Breaking

KCCA Valuation Court Starts Hearing Sessions

Muyizzi says the sessions shall sit on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday in open court except where necessary in chambers to hear the over 800 complaints filed. On Tuesday, the court had invited 10 parties but couldn't attend to them all since much of the early afternoon was spent in the opening ceremony.

Audio 2

The Kampala Capital City Authority-KCCA Valuation court has started hearing complaints resulting from the property valuation exercise dating back to 2018. The court Chairperson Samuel Muyizzi Mulindwa presided over the first session Tuesday together with Eng Brian Kayemba and Daphine Muwonge, both members of the court. 

They started with complaints from the central division filed by Joseph Baliddawa who accused KCCA valuers of committing an error when they valued one of his property twice and billed noncommercial houses. Baliddawa, who is in his 70s told the court that his property on Plot 3 Escape Bell Road in Kololo was valued twice as Plot 3A and 3B hence doubling the rate for one property.

"I believe that, that is an error and the error has persisted and should be corrected such that I am billed for one property. I would like the property to be billed as one such that I pay what I am required to pay for a single property" said Baliddawa before, adding that his other property on Plot 2 Makenzie Bell Road in Kololo was wrongly valued.

He told the court that he has two houses and a boys’ quarter on that plot. He explains that the house and boys' quarters are occupied by his daughter and her four children while the other has no tenant. Baliddawa says that the valuers billed all the houses and asked the court to let him pay for one house when tenants occupy it.

The KCCA valuation team comprising the supervisor valuation Elroi Naggayi, and two others acknowledged having captured the same property twice, an error they are willing to correct. As for the second property, the valuation team said that KCCA had waived the tax for one house occupied by Baliddawa's family in 2017. 

However, the second house was listed as rented and hence billed. They agreed to conduct a joint valuation to ascertain if indeed there is family living there and if there is no tenant in the other house. The second complaint was filed by 53-old Samuel Kasule who says that KCCA billed his two houses in Lubaga including a three bedroomed one he resides in. The second house has six rooms and that is what is rented out but KCCA billed both houses and asked him to pay Shillings 610,740 annually. 

Kasule told the court that he collects Shillings 420,000 a month from his rented house and after deducting water and electricity bills, he remains with 340,000 shillings. He asked court to allow him to pay Shillings 216,000. The valuation team admitted to having billed the entire property in error including even the owner-occupied space. 

Court heard that if corrected, Kasule shall be required to pay Shillings 303,264. The court chairman said they shall deliver their Judgement on notice but added that Kasule shall be made to pay not more than Shillings 300,000. Speaking to Journalists before the court session, Samuel Muyizzi noted that subsequent sessions shall be hosted both at City Hall in Committee room 1 and different venues identified in the respective divisions such that the court is brought closer to the people.

Muyuzi said that the valuation court shall operate less formerly to make it more appealing and friendly to ordinary Ugandans and to avoid delays. Muyuzi called upon property owners with grievances to register them with KCCA and leave the onus to the court to determine whether or not to hear them depending on the time within, which they file them. According to section 15 of the Local Governments (Rating) Act, 2005, an objection should be filed within 30 days after the display of the roll of tax levied. 

However, Muyizi argues that the section is directional rather than compulsory and hence, one can file their complaints after 30 days of display of the roll and it shall remain to the court to determine the case.

//Cue in: "We are as...

Cue out: ...us or not"//

Muyizzi says the sessions shall sit on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday in open court except where necessary in chambers to hear the over 800 complaints filed. On Tuesday, the court had invited 10 parties but couldn't attend to them all since much of the early afternoon was spent in the opening ceremony.

The sessions started after 2:30 pm and those who accepted to take an adjustment were given new dates in which to return to court. Others who didn't want to return next week were given a provision of returning on Friday since they had been made to wait for long hours. 

Doreen Nyanjura, the KCCA Deputy Lord Mayor said at the opening ceremony of the session that the court shall be a good avenue to deliver Justice to people who feel that the valuation exercise by KCCA was wrongfully done and should be corrected. Nyanjura adds that there have been several complaints from people alleging over taxation while some reports indicated that some city tycoons evaded the tax. 

//Cue in: "We have for...

Cue out: ...the valuation court"//

On her part, Grace Akullo, the Director Human Resources at KCCA, who represented the Executive Director committed the authority's support to the court. She called upon property owners with grievances to embrace the court, report and have their complaints heard. According to the Local Government Act, local governments can charge a percentage not exceeding 12 percent of the taxable value of the property and a minimum of 2,000 shillings. The taxable value is 74% of the revenue generated by a property.

In 2020, the KCCA council passed new rates which imposed 4 percent of the taxable value of properties generating five million and below and 6 percent for properties attracting revenue of five million shillings. This changed the rates from 6 percent of the taxable value on commercial properties which was charged on all commercial properties. KCCA says they started using the new rates.