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Parliament Resolves to Investigate Oil Cash Bonanza

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The Attorney General, William Byaruhanga informed parliament that government has given out similar rewards before citing Ugandans who excelled in different fields including but not limited to the thirty public officers who were part of the team that discovered oil in Uganda in 2006.
Legislators on Wednesday night resolved to investigate the 6 billion oil bonus to top government officials.

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Parliament has resolved to investigate the circumstances under, which government paid out bonuses to 42 top officials for their role in the Heritage Oil arbitration case.

The resolution was reached in a session chaired by the speaker, Rebecca Kadaga on Wednesday evening following a motion tabled by Mbarara Municipality Member of Parliament, Michael Tusiime.

In his motion, Tusiime said the Shillings 6 billion bonus dished out to the officials was controversial, adding that it brought to the fore a number of issues, which necessitate investigations by a select committee of parliament. He argued that, the fact that the money was solicited, it lost its characteristic of a reward.


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He called for the establishment of a select committee to investigate the role of each beneficiary of the oil cash in the case, how they were selected, whose idea it was to solicit for the reward and those in charge of disbursing the payment among others.

The Shadow Attorney General, Wilfred Niwagaba told parliament that bonuses were paid out in disregard of the law.


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Peter Ogwang, the Usuk County MP told parliament that some of the staff of Uganda Revenue Authority-URA who made the tax assessment missed out on the bonuses.




"While for me, I have to suffer with loans. It is so painful. My district received only Shillings 109 million as Primary Health Care, no ambulances but here people are talking about the mortgage. You are making our work very difficult." said MP Ogwang.





The Attorney General, William Byaruhanga informed parliament that government has given out similar rewards before citing Ugandans who excelled in different fields including but not limited to the thirty public officers who were part of the team that discovered oil in Uganda in 2006.



"The Ex-Gratia to the scientists was rewarded to the individuals who played a key role in helping Uganda discover the first commercial deposits of oil in the Albertine Graben,” he said.

Abdu Katuntu, the Bugweri County MP said that this incident is a lesson to parliament to do an audit of the oil and gas sector. "This country has got an opportunity and if we do not address ourselves to the oil sector well, we shall suffer like other countries. In the next 40 to 50 years, the country will be run on the oil money; you need to audit the oil sector, “said Katuntu. 




Kadaga noted that throughout the debate, there was a unanimous call for investigations into the matter. She promised to name a select committee on Thursday to handle the matter.


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Early this week, president, Yoweri Museveni defended the oil cash bonuses during the NRM caucus at State House Entebbe. He explained to the legislators that it was within his mandate to reward the officials since they had resisted temptations. He however, failed short of the nature of the temptations the officials face and who it was from. 


Shortly after the NRM caucus meeting, the Government Chief Whip, Ruth Nankabirwa told journalists that NRM MPs had resolved to support the oil cash bonanza. She however, said the legislators were still concerned on how the money was paid out to the beneficiaries.