Oil Cash: URA Staff Pocketed UGX 50M for Filing Documents

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In short
MPs tasked Joseph Angura, a former Clerical Officer in the Litigation Division at Uganda Revenue Authority URA to explain his role in the case. Angura said he received Shillings 50 million for filing and serving pleadings. He told the Committee that although he didnt want to insinuate that he did something extra ordinary, he believes they were appreciated for the work done.

Five more beneficiaries of the six billion Shillings oil cash dished out by President Yoweri Museveni have appeared before Members of Parliament to explain their roles in the Heritage Oil and Gas arbitration case.

Parliament's Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) is probing circumstances under which 42 individuals shared amongst themselves six billion shillings as "presidential handshake" as a bonus for their role in winning the multi-million dollar tax case against Heritage Oil and Gas.

Those  who appeared before COSASE today are Rodney Golooba, Joseph Angura, Syson Ainembabazi, Paul Ojambo and Rose Adakun. This afternoon, the Committee tasked Joseph Angura, a former Clerical Officer in the Litigation Division at Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) to explain his role in the case.

Angura said he received Shillings 50 million for filing and serving pleadings. Angura told the Committee that although he didn't want to insinuate that he did something extra ordinary, he believes they were appreciated for the work done. Asked when he learnt of the reward, Angura said he was only asked to submit his personal account, on which he found Shillings 29 million Shillings after tax deductions and his contribution to the National Social Security Fund - NSSF.

Katuntu wondered how a clerk could pocket such big amounts of money for serving court documents, but Angura shot back saying he wasn't merely serving papers but he was doing his job.  Paul Ojambo, another beneficiary of the bonus money told the committee he also received Shillings 29 million. Ojambo said his role involved binding, photocopying, opening files for the pleadings and dispatching the files to high authorities. 

When tasked by Katuntu to explain the extraordinary role he played, Ojambo said he always stood in the meeting room during brainstorming sessions that would go beyond normal working hours as he waited for the next instructions.
 
The MPs tasked Ojambo to justify whether the Shillings 29 million was worth photocopying papers and binding documents. He declined to respond, saying the one who extended the reward was better placed to do so. 

Rodney Golooba, the Supervisor Litigation at URA told the committee that the tax advisory support he offered during the oil case was worth a reward.  Records before the Committee show that Golooba received Shillings 200 million.  
 
Despite referring MPs to the person who extended the reward, Golooba said the committee was at liberty to determine whether or not he deserved the reward. Rose Adakun, the former Administrative Officer in the Litigation Department during the case received Shillings 50 million for typing pleadings and proceedings.
 
Syson Ainembabazi, a former officer in the Natural Resource Management Unit told the committee that as a legal officer, she was appointed as the case officer for the unit in all the proceedings. Ainembabazi admitted pocketing Shillings 200 million from the presidential handshake. Katuntu tasked Ainembabazi in vain to explain the number of times she travelled to London. She told the members she couldn't remember.
 
Her response angered Katuntu, who said none of the officers from the tax body has been willing to reveal their travels to London, which he described as strange. As a result, Katuntu said they would require the URA staff to produce their passports for scrutiny.
 
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Following Katuntu's directive, Ainembabazi tried to explain she travelled four times to London while on the case.
 
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About the author

Olive Nakatudde
Olive Nakatudde is a URN journalist based in Kampala. Nakatudde has been a URN staff member since 2013.

Nakatudde started out in journalism in 2009 with Dembe FM radio in Kampala. In 2012, Nakatudde joined Voice of Africa as a political reporter. She has been a photographer since her journalism school days at Makerere University.

Nakatudde is interested in good governance and public policy, which she reports on intensively from the Uganda Parliament. She is a keen follower of cultural affairs in Buganda Kingdom and covers the kingdom's Lukiiko (parliament). Nakatudde also reports on education and health.