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URA Tax Assessor Missed on Oil Cash Bonus

Bernard Sanya was a Commissioner with URA when Uganda initiated proceedings against Heritage Oil and Gas Company. He assessed the tax that was the foundation for the case that was won by Uganda.
Officials from Uganda Revenue Authority led by Commissioner General Doris Akol appearing before COSASE.

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Parliament's oil cash probe has learnt that the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) tax assessor who calculated the 404 million Dollars Capital Gains Tax was not listed among the beneficiaries of the six billion Shillings reward for winning the case.

                         

Bernard Sanya was a Commissioner with URA when Uganda initiated proceedings against Heritage Oil and Gas Company. He assessed the tax that was the foundation for the case that was won by Uganda.

Parliament's Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises chaired by Bugweri County MP Abdu Katuntu today learnt that Sanya was not among the 42 top government officials who shared 6 billion Shillings 'presidential handshake'.

While appearing before the committee, Doris Akol – URA's Commissioner General failed to explain why Sanya was excluded from the list of beneficiaries. Akol said that by the time government decided to reward the team that won the case, Sanya had left URA. She added that Sanya left in 2011 for a consultancy job with Liberia's revenue authority.

Akol's response raised queries from legislators who questioned why some former URA staff were considered for the reward. Some of the former URA staff who benefited include KCCA Executive Director Jenniffer Musisi who received 100 million Shillings under the non-core staff category B.

MPs want AKol to explain why Musisi who resigned from URA as Commissioner Board and Legal Services in January 2011 was rewarded while Sanya was excluded.

Committee chairperson Abdu Katuntu said that his committee will consider interfacing with Sanya with the possibility of video-conferencing interactions with him.

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Meanwhile, Robinah Nakakawa, the head of the Natural Resources Unit at URA failed to clarify what role she played to justify 200 million Shillings that was given to her.

Nakakawa admitted that she attended meetings related to the case in 2009 and left for studies until the following year when she returned and discovered that the tax bill had already been slapped on Heritage Oil and Gas.

She told the committee that other officials like Rebecca Nasimbwa, Sam Kahima and others who participated in meetings at the inception of the case did not benefit from the reward.

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URA officials will once again appear before the COSASE tomorrow to produce bank statements of recipients and others.

Late last month, it emerged that 42 individuals had benefited from what has come to be referred to as a presidential handshake for the role they played in winning a capital gains tax against Heritage Oil.  The tax dispute arose after Heritage sold its interests in Uganda's oil to Tullow Oil.