UNSTOPPABLE: NRM, Opposition MPs Unanimously Agree to Probe 6bn Handshake

Mbarara Municipality MP, Micheal Tusiime tabling the motion

Parliament on Wednesday passed the motion to investigate the infamous cash bonanza at the tune of Shs6bn that was shared between senior government officials in Uganda Revenue Authority, nurse Ministry of Finance and Attorney General’s office.

For the first time, the ruling National Resistance Movement Members of Parliament, the Opposition and Independents held a common ground from the beginning of the debate to the end.

No single NRM disagreed with the motion even after meeting the party Chairman, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni who is also involved in processes leading to the handshake, on Tuesday.

The motion was moved by NRM member, Michael Tusiime of Mbarara Municipality and historically seconded by six other legislators not the traditional two.

Among the seconders was the Commissioner of Parliament, Peter Ogwang who emphasized that he was participating as the representative of his people of Usuk County not as an administrator of the Legislature.

Ogwang was among the first government officials to call and congratulate ChimpReports when this investigative website broke the story on 2nd January 2017. Other MPs who seconded the motion are Vicent Niwagaba of Ndorwa East, Elijah Okupa of Kasilo County and Bukedea District woman representative Anita Amongin.

The Debate

The motion for the probe was number 8 and last in the order of business of day and when it clocked 5pm all other items were postponed to the next day as MPs enthusiastically wanted the handshake matter to be concluded yesterday.

The house sat up to 9pm as speaker after speaker condemn and call for all kind of actions to be taken against the handshake beneficiaries that included the URA Commissioner General Doris Akol, Ministry of Finance Permanent Secretary Keith Myhakinizi among others.

Speaker Rebecca Kadaga who chaired the house, allocated 3 minutes for each MP since literally the whole house wanted to contribute on the matter except for ministers who kept quiet throughout the 4 hours debate.

The Kwania County representative Tony Ayo (NRM) opened the debate saying President Museveni while addressing Parliament last year unequivocally stated that the oil money is only going to be used for infrastructure development and science and technology but the contrary has happened.

“It is unfortunate that the oil money has been given to few people as bonuses. H.E Museveni clearly told us here that the oil money is not for food but critical developments,” Ayo said and also warned that Uganda might end up like Nigeria that is facing numerous security challenges, if the oil revenue is misused.

The Bugweri County MP, Abdu Katuntu (FDC) who is also the Chairperson of Commissions Statutory and State Enterprises committee that is likely going to probe that handshake, said the whole oil sector should be audited.

“It’s important to establish what exactly happened to the Shs6bn but the whole oil sector is operating in secrecy. It should be audited,” Katuntu said.

Katuntu’s committee has recovered money from contractors in billions in the recent past. The same committee also secured the UBC land title that was in the hands of Margret Muhanga and her associates.

The Bulisa county MP Stephen Mukitale (Independent) who comes from Bulisa District where oil fields are located, said his area and Nwoya district where Heritage Oil and Gas company sold off its assets and made the country to realize about a trillion in income gain tax, have got nothing but some 42 people have already selectively benefitted.

“Bulisa and Nwoya where the business took place have got nothing and no one is thinking about us. Some highest paid 42 civil servants have already got 6billion and many who lost land in Bulisa are grappling in poverty,” Mukitale said.

Meanwhile Gusto Mugoya (NRM) faulted the Attorney General and his office for being part of the process that tried to stop Parliament from investigating the matter.

“The Attorney General’s Office was accomplice in trying to stop this August house from debating what affects the country. That was an extremely bad precedence,” he said.

The Constitutional Court chaired by Deputy Chief Justice, Stephen Kavuma issued an order stopping Parliament from investigating the handshake on Monday last week.

Today the Speaker is expected to announce the Committee that is going to scrutinize the matter and also the terms of reference.


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