President Museveni has called for the enactment of a law governing rewards and donations to Public servants.
The request was made through members of the Parliamentary Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprise (COSASE), now investigating the controversial payment of six billion Shillings to public servants involved in a tax dispute between Uganda and Heritage Oil.
The money was paid out as a token of appreciation to the officials for a role that aided the country to secure USD 400 million (1.4 trillion Shillings) in capital gains tax from Heritage’s sale of its stake to Tullow Oil in 2015. The payment, now referred to the “Presidential Handshake” attracted sharp criticism from the public, MPs and civil society among other sections of the public.
COSASE chairperson Abdul Katuntu told Journalists at Parliament today that while President Museveni acknowledged that the payout was irregular, he has directed the Attorney General to work with the committee to come up with a law on rewards to public servants.
He says although the president runs a donations budget appropriated by parliament, there are no laws regulating monetary rewards and that the oil bonus payment was not given in context of the law.
The president also directed that a sum of 6 billion Shillings be debited from his donation account and paid back to Uganda Revenue Authority (URA). When asked if the move to refund money by the president was an achievement, Katuntu stated that they are yet to decide on the matter as a committee.
Katuntu says that the committee was satisfied with the answers given by the president, adding that the committee is now headed somewhere with its report. The committee has interviewed over 60 witnesses as part of the probe.