The Shs 6bn oil tax scandal which has stirred nationwide debate in this ending week has also unlike most national debates, page http://christchurchcathedral.org.au/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-plugin-install-list-table.php acted to unite political players on both ends of government and the opposition.
Politicians from the ruling NRM party and the opposition side in the past few days have been chorusing charged condemnations of a few dozen officials from the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) and other government ministries and departments, who shared amongst themselves a total of Shs 6bn from tax revenue recovered from a litigation against oil company Heritage.
Small a percentage as it might have been of the recovered amount (1% of $700million including another $250million from another settled case against Tullow), most political commentators especially from Parliament were displeased by the officials gifting themselves the cash, in what has famously come to be known as the “Golden Presidential Handshake.”
Surprisingly, the ruling NRM party seems so far to be more infuriated than any other party in criticizing this deal.
Despite the deal being signed off by their party chairman Yoweri Museveni back in 2015, it has been condemned by the NRM’s Secretary General Justine Kasule Lumumba, Party Deputy Spokesperson Ofwono Opondo, NRM’s Head of the Women’s League Lydia Wanyoto among others.
This morning, Opposition Forum for Democratic Change pitched in on the debate, calling upon some of the key faces implicated in the scandal to come out and refund the money for the sake of their hard earned reputation.
According to FDC’s spokesperson Semujju Nganda, only a few of the implicated persons need to save their faces. Others can keep them money because “they have no name to salvage.”
Among those that FDC wants to return the cash is the Commissioner General Doris Akol (who personally followed up to State House and materialized the deal, also bagging Shs 242m); Former Energy Ministry Permanent Secretary Kabagambe Kaliisa and Secretary to the Treasury Keith Muhakanizi who took home Shs 133m and Shs 108m respectively.
“I don’t think if I have been in URA almost all my adult life and then to UNRA, that I should be on radio being attacked for a few million shillings,” said Mr Nganda while appearing on the Capital Gang Show.
But for the former Attorney General Peter Nyombi, Nganda said, “It’s Okay, that one can keep the money. I would not have a problem with him because he has nothing to protect.”
Speaking on the same show, NRM’s Head of the Women’s League Hon Lydia Wanyoto said that some of the implicated figures who have ever been recognized by government (medals) or on the floor of Parliament should have these honors retrieved from them.
Wanyoto noted that Parliament acknowledgment and government medals are the only legally recognized rewards for people’s distinguished services and that the scandalous officials “cannot have it both ways.”
“They can either keep their medals and return our money or bring back out medals,” said Wanyoto, threatening to introduce this motion on the floor of Parliament.