The matter involved a dispute over the charging of taxes on the plaintiff on imports of sugar under a duty-free license.
The main issue was whether the sugar was imported after expiry of the six-month license. The court considered the definition of ‘import’ in the East African Community Customs Management Act (EACCMA) and established that since importation was allowed under East African Community Law the definition covered bringing of the goods into a Partner State. It also looked at the time of importation in the act which it gave as the point at which the goods come within the boundaries of the Partner States. Having looked at the powers that enabled the granting of the licenses to import by the Minister of Trade, Industry and Co-operatives as being sourced from East African Community law, the court thus reached that the goods had been imported within the period of granting of the license when they arrived in Mombasa in October 2011. Since the sugar in question was imported within time it was concluded to have been part of the sugar exempted from customs duty by East African Community law. Held the assessment for import duty of the plaintiff by the defendant was wrongful.
The court thus allowed for a refund of duties charged on sugar sold within Uganda with interest costs but denied all other damages arising from goods re-exported to other countries on the reasoning that the re-exports contravened the terms of the license.