The public outcry over the doling out of Shs 6bn to URA lawyers and senior government officials who participated in the Heritage oil case has gained momentum with a high ranking presidential advisor seeking resignation of the implicated officers.
Appearing on a radio talk-show on Saturday, Presidential Advisor on Media Affairs Tamale Mirundi urged president Museveni to immediately sack or cause the resignation of URA boss Doris Akol and other beneficiaries including KCCA’s Jennifer Musisi and Treasury Secretary Keith Muhakanizi.
Akol personally initiated, pursued, facilitated and paid the controversial bonuses from URA coffers.
“Akol, Muhakanizi and Musisi should start getting used to small beds and small mattresses found in prisons,” said Mirundi.
“By sacking and arresting these people, Museveni will have confirmed his commitment to fight corruption and impunity in the management of public resources,” he charged.
Mirundi, who has in recent years waged a spirited war against what he calls mafia-orchestrated graft, said “if Museveni acts on these bogus payments, he will rule for five more years without any interruption.”
Highly placed sources told ChimpReports On Sunday that government communicators had deliberately refused to defend Akol’s payments.
“Akol and his team should explain what motivated her to do whatever she did,” said an insider.
Even Muhakanizi told NTV that he authorized payments following a valuation by Akol.
“It’s clear in her (Akol) letter. She made the assessment of the payments,” said Muhakanizi.
Mirundi, who until recently served as the president’s spokesperson, said Members of Parliament are quietly putting in place a “red book” to “blacklist all those associated with corruption.”
He warned: “If your name appears in that book; you will never serve in any other government. The more we democratize the more issues of morality become serious.”
“Why aren’t they resigning?” wondered Mirundi. “If they don’t want to quit; they will be forced to leave. Something is building up in Parliament. People are very bitter.”
By Friday night, Akol was still struggling to contain internal dissent, anger and disillusionment at URA.
Akol told staff to always be mindful that “significant successes have been scored by URA in the recent past in the struggle to streamline tax collection, e.g. through professionalizing the clearing fraternity, asserting our right to break questionable aggressive tax planning schemes by some taxpayers and break some corruption syndicates and schemes among staff.”
She added: “So Team, please stay calm and concentrate on your work because despite the distractions around us, we have a job to do.”
Earlier on Saturday morning, firebrand FDC MP Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda condemned the oil case payments.
“If it’s about rewarding, do you only reward those who recover money? Aren’t there other people who do exemplary work? How do you quantify the contribution of doctors who save lives?” wondered Ssemujju.
Government spokesperson Ofwono Opondo condemned the payments, saying they smirked of conflict of interest as they were prompted by the beneficiaries.