The UGX6bn Presidential Handshake was Necessary – Mwenda

The UGX6bn Presidential Handshake was Necessary – Mwenda

Veteran Jour­nal­ist and the proprietor of the Independent Magazine, An­drew Mwenda has de­fended the UGX 6 bil­lion that was given to the 42 gov­ern­men­t top shots saying they did a recommendable job in winning the oil arbitration case.

Mwenda, who ap­peared be­fore the Com­mis­sions, Statu­tory Au­thor­i­ties and State En­ter­prises (COSASE) com­mit­tee on Monday, told MPs that it is very im­por­tant for gov­ern­ment to rec­og­nize ex­cel­lence, even in ex­tra­or­di­nary terms when­ever it is done.

“A sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of pub­lic of­fi­cials in Uganda, when ex­er­cis­ing their man­date, place their per­sonal in­ter­ests above the in­ter­est of this coun­try,” Mwenda told the com­mit­tee, which he wrote to, seek­ing its au­di­ence to give his views on the mat­ter.

He re­vealed that there were at­tempts by some of the oil com­pa­nies to in­tim­i­date Uganda Rev­enue Author­ity to dis­con­tinue with the pur­suance of the $434 mil­lion cap­i­tal tax gains slapped against Heritage Oil and Gas, af­ter it sold its stake to Tul­low Oil.

Mwenda said the oil com­pa­nies and some gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials warned URA that the tax as­sess­ment would dis­cour­age other in­vestors from com­ing to the coun­try to in­vest in the oil sec­tor.

He in­sisted that the gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials de­served the award for their work. He how­ever in­sisted that gov­ern­ment cre­ates in­cen­tives for pub­lic of­fi­cials who do ex­em­plary work and they ben­e­fit from the awards.

“This money was not paid be­cause of ex­tra work done but be­cause of an ex­tra­or­di­nary vic­tory. It does not mat­ter if these peo­ple had worked 500 hours a day and even if they had worked for an hour a day, they were be­ing paid for vic­tory,” Mwenda said.

He also noted that while the se­lec­tion of ben­e­fi­cia­ries was un­fair and the amount of money and pro­ce­dural ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties were made, the pub­lic and Par­lia­ment should look at the work that the team did and the out­come, which was the vic­tory in sav­ing the $434 mil­lion from Her­itage.