President Yoweri Museveni met with Doris Akol, Uganda Revenue Authority URA Commissioner General on May 17, 2015 at Rwakitura in Kiruhura district to discuss government court win over Heritage Oil and Gas Limited in early 2015.
New details surrounding the payment of bonuses to top government officials in relation to oil company arbitration case have emerged.
A number of correspondences seen by Uganda Radio Network show that President Yoweri Museveni met with Doris Akol, Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) Commissioner General on May 17, 2015 at Rwakitura in Kiruhura District to discuss government's court win over Heritage Oil and Gas Limited in early 2015.
On February 24, 2015, the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) dismissed a case filed by Heritage, which had challenged a decision by URA to collect a 1.1 trillion shillings capital gains tax. This was after Heritage sold its stake to Tullow Oil. The court directed Heritage to pay 11.5 billion in costs to Uganda.
Akol wrote a follow up letter to President Yoweri Museveni on June 26, 2015, reminding him of the “presidential handshake” in appreciation of a team of 42 members who handled the tax arbitration case in London.
Akol proposed that six billion shillings is paid to the team as take-home package for their work.
“The amount recommended as a reward is an amount that will enable the beneficiaries use the funds for something tangible, i.e, to leave a legacy to remind them and their offspring of their contribution to the nation,” the letter reads in part.
She said the recommended amount, of which 2.3 billion shillings was deduction of taxes, would enable the beneficiaries acquire a decent plot of land or facilitate finishes on home construction.
In response, President Museveni, in a November 16, 2015 letter, directed the Minister of Finance, Matia Kasaija to effect the payments, as a token of appreciation to the team.
The ministry's Permanent Secretary, Keith Muhakanizi wrote to Akol on May 25, 2016, stating that the funds could not be allocated as supplementary then, but that it would be paid out in the 2016/2017 financial year.
The money was paid out in August 2016, with Akol receiving 242 million. Former Attorney General, Peter Nyombi received 226 million; his deputy then Fred Ruhindi got 93 million, while Muhakanizi is quoted to have got 108 million.
The pay outs have caused uproar among members of the public and legislators, who have demanded that Parliament conducts an investigation into the matter.
At a press conference convened today at Parliament, the MPs including Peter Ogwang, Jackson Kafuuzi and Michael Tusiime contend that the six billion shillings paid out to the officials was done irregularly.
The MPs say Parliament allocated funds to facilitate the officials for the case, demanding that the bonuses got should be refunded.
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Luganda (MP Michael Tusiime and Margaret Komuhangi)