President Museveni has today Tuesday faced-off with National Resistance Movement (MPs) over his role in the sanctioning of Shs6 billion that was paid to 42 government officials in controversial payments as a reward for a case that was won against British oil firms.
While meeting the legislators, President Yoweri Museveni has revealed that the decision to give Shs6 billion to a select group of lawyers and civil servants, after winning a capital gains tax case against Heritage, oil was deliberate.
“I reject that I did anything wrong. I am very proud of these young people,” the President said.
Mr. Museveni also reiterated that during the court proceedings of the case, he was approached by many people who told him to settle the issue outside of court because, they said, Uganda was likely to lose a lot of money. He, however, said he had been strengthened by that Ugandan group of young people who assured him that they were going to win the case. It was through this background that he decided to thank them.
“If the support staff were part of the big war that saved Uganda trillions and gained US$451 million, if they get 50 million Ugandan shillings for their first time in life, it is okay. It was their luck that they were part of the war,” remarked Mr. Museveni.
He further told the caucus that in the last 30 years, he has only given the monetary ‘handshake’ twice; the first that occurred in 2006 when he was very happy with a group of scientists who had discovered oil and rewarded them publicly in Kololo with the highest being given about US$20,000, and the second being the recent one.
The President, however, clarified that the only thing that could have gone wrong was to infiltrate names of people on the list who were not involved on the case behind his back and that if this was the case, it needed investigation. He also noted that there had been a misrepresentation of the whole matter because as far as he knew, when the taxes were deducted from the Shs.6 billion, Shs.3.5billion was left to be shared amongst the group.
The President further explained that the rest of the money that was got from the oil case was what was used to partly pay the 15% that helped with the starting of Karuma and Isimba electricity dam projects.
Mr. Museveni castigated Members of Parliament for insulting good people and urged the legislators to find respectable and amicable ways of dealing with the rising issues in the country.
The Shs6 billion payment has caused public controversy since it came to light in early January with some asking what criterion was used to decide who received the money or if the money was approved through the proper channels.
The controversy over the payment has gone as far as to cause a rift between Parliament and the Judiciary after the Speaker of Parliament dismissed as “stupid” a court order that was seeking to block any investigation or debate into the matter. The Speaker went as far as to call off all parliamentary business until the court order was vacated.