Four beneficiaries of the Shillings 6 billion presidential handshake from Uganda Revenue Authority-URA have explained their roles in the Heritage Oil and Gas arbitration case.
They are Mathew Mugabi, the former URA Litigation Manager, Samuel Kahima, the former acting Manager Rulings and Interpretations, Moses Kibumba, the former Chief Assessor and former Natural Resource Supervisor Annet Bazalilaki.
The four appeared on Monday afternoon before the Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises chaired by Bugweri County MP, Abdu Katuntu, which is investigating the oil cash bonuses.
Evidence before the committee shows that Mathew Mugabi and Samuel Kahima pocketed Shillings 121 million each while Moses Kibumba and Anent Bazalilaki received Shillings 73 million and Shillings 56 million respectively.
During the meeting, the Committee Chairperson Abdu Katuntu tasked tasked the four officials to explain the extraordinary role they played in the oil arbitration case to warrant a special reward from the president.
Mugabi, who traveled to London more than five times, said his role was to provide background information on how they argued the case in the Arbitration Tribunal and High Court of Uganda.
Busiro East MP, Medard Ssegona asked Mugabi the number of witnesses URA presented for the case. Mugabi said he couldn’t remember the exact number, but only said they were more than two witnesses.
His response drew angry reactions from Ssegona and Katuntu who wondered how URA officials expect the committee to believe their claims to have played an extraordinary role.
Samuel Kahima, the former URA Acting Manager Rulings and Interpretations, said he handled objections to the case since it was leaning toward enforcement measures.
Kahima also said he was the only member of the team who had practiced under the income tax decree and was there to support the arbitration team by conceptualizing the matter.
He however, agreed with the Katuntu that even with this, he would ordinarily be performing his job. Moses Kibumba, the former URA Chief Assessor sent the probe Committee into laughter when he said that the Heritage Oil and Gas Company case was extraordinary since it generated abnormal heat.
Anent Bazairaki, the former URA Natural Resources Supervisor said her role in the Oil arbitration case was to conduct research on the matter from the internet. The probe committee resumes on Wednesday with submissions from other beneficiaries from the presidential handshake from URA.
At least 42 government officials benefited from the presidential handshake for their role on the arbitration. The tax dispute arose after Heritage sold its interests in Uganda’s oil to Tullow Oil.