Saturday, June 24, 2017

#Uganda thieves of the #6BillionHandshake to sue parliament

Uganda Revenue Authority lawyer, Ali Sekatawa, who is also one of the beneficiaries of the Shs 6 billion oil cash bonanza, has threatened to petition court over parliament's findings and recommendations on the matter.
This week, the committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) tabled an over-90 page report from investigations into the Shs 6 billion presidential handshake. The committee came out with eight recommendations including one that called on all the 42 oil cash beneficiaries to refund the money.

Parliament unanimously adopted the report, saying the beneficiaries flouted the law and should refund the money. Sekatawa, who, received more than Shs 242 million according to records obtained by the probe committee says he's not ready to refund the money but will instead petition court to stop government from implementing the findings and recommendations of COSASE.
Ali Ssekatawa makes his submissions to COSASE in January this year
According to Sekatawa, the committee selectively evaluated evidence leading to wrong conclusions on certain aspects and was populist in certain aspects.

He says he is angry with the fact that the MPs and sections of the public are challenging the patriotism he and his colleagues exhibited while arguing the tax dispute against two British firms then involved in Uganda's oil sector. 
Sekatawa is also challenging the fact that Parliament went ahead to adopt a report, which was not signed by all the members of the committee that investigated the matter.

He is also of the view that Parliament has no authority to call on him and others that benefited from the bonanza to refund it because the money wasn't given by Parliament. 
The committee found that URA commissioner general, Doris Akol spearheaded the request to President Yoweri Museveni to have them rewarded for their role in the London tax arbitration dispute between Uganda and Heritage Oil and Gas and Tullow Oil.
Akol received Shs 242 million, while former Attorney General, Peter Nyombi got Shs 226 million. The late former secretary to Treasury, Chris Kasami is said to have received Shs 93 million. The current secretary to Treasury, Keith Muhakanizi received Shs 108 million. Kampala Capital City Authority executive director, Jennifer Musisi allegedly received Shs 221 million.

Abdu Katuntu, the COSASE committee chairperson, says those aggrieved by the report are free to go to court. He insists that his committee had well thought arguments in reaching the eight conclusions in the report.

Katuntu wonders why all those that received the cash are not complaining about other recommendations including one requiring the executive to table a bill for a law to streamline presidential rewards in future.

He argues that the money shared by the 42 people didn't come from the president's donations budget but was drawn from the Uganda Revenue Authority budget, which is appropriated by Parliament.  
Katuntu say the argument that the report shouldn't have been adopted because some of the MPs did not sign is baseless. He says only three serving MPs did not sign the report.

Katuntu explains that some of the MPs lost their parliamentary seats and therefore couldn't be allowed to sign the final report because they are no longer Members of Parliament.

Katuntu maintains that there was nothing ordinary beyond their ordinary schedule for the government officials to be paid extra money for their role in the arbitration case.

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