URA Board Chair, Akol Clash Over Oil Cash

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In short
The URA Board Chairperson, Simon Kagugube told members of the Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises-COSASE this afternoon that they only learnt of the handshake from the press.

 
The Uganda Revenue Authority-URA Board was never consulted on the controversial 'Presidential Handshake' currently under parliamentary probe.
 
 
The URA Board Chairperson, Simon Kagugube told members of the Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises-COSASE this afternoon that they only learnt of the handshake from the press.
 
 
The Committee that is chaired by Bugweri County MP, Abdul Katuntu is investigating circumstances under, which 42 government officials received Shillings 6 billion for their role in the tax arbitration case between Government and Heritage Oil.
 
 
While appearing before the Committee, Simon Kagugube, the URA Board Chairperson noted that he and other board members were formally briefed about the bonuses by the URA Commissioner General, Doris Akol on Friday last week.
 
 
He was responding to a query by Katuntu to explain the role of the board in the controversial payment. Katuntu wondered how reallocation of such a huge amount of money was done without the knowledge and authorization of the Board. Kagugube said the payment was authorized by the Finance Ministry.
 

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At this point, the URA Commissioner General Doris Akol told the committee that there was no reallocation, saying the money was got from URA's expenditure account for the 2016/2017 financial year budget.
 
 
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Akol's response attracted more questions from legislators like Francis Mwijukye, the Buhweju county Member of Parliament. Mwijukye asked Akol to explain how she could use money in the budget that is controlled by the board without approval.
 
  
Akol insisted that there was no need to seek the board's approval, adding that the board is only notified about monthly revenue performance, human resource management and major procurements. 


Kagugube, who told legislators that his board meets every month as required by the URA Act, noted that they are currently looking at statutory provisions and other documents to establish whether Akol contravened the law.
 

Following the contradictions in the submissions from Akol and Kagugube, Katuntu noted that while boards are put in place to oversee management in URA's case management is overseeing the board. COSASE will meet the URA team on Thursday to explain why the Shillings 6 was withdrawn from the URA accounts in disregard of the law.
 

 

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.