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Oil cash bonanza probe in final stages

Lawyers say president has no right to dish out money

The parliamentary committee investigating the Oil Cash Bonanza is in the final stages of completing its hearings with Ministry of Finance officials being the last batch of civil servants to appear. By press time, committee chairperson Abdu Katuntu said they were set to meet the for­mer Com­mis­sioner Gen­eral of Uganda Rev­enue Au­thor­ity (URA), Allen Kag­ina, Jen­nifer Mu­sisi for­mer URA Com­mis­sioner Le­gal Af­fairs, Pe­ter Muli­isa, also a for­mer em­ployee of URA and Kali­isa Kabagambe, for­mer Per­ma­nent Sec­re­tary of the Min­istry of En­ergy on Mar.02 to get an explanation on their role in the arbitration case Uganda won against Heritage Oil and Gas Limited which led to an award of Shs6billion to 42 civil servants.

While most of the previous officials including the initiator of the handshake URA’s Doris Akol and solicitor General Francis Atoke who have appeared before the committee have justified their reward quoting the constitution that President Museveni didn’t break any law in his actions, lawyers challenged this. Appearing before the same committee on Feb.27, Francis Gimara the President of Uganda Law Society said the president’s powers are overrated and articles 98 and 99 of the constitution are misunderstood.  To him, the prerogative that the President is the fountain of honor is only for pardoning the convicted not for casually picking public money and dishing it out to individuals.

However, Katuntu told journalists that the committee was also seeking an appointment with the President explain what informed his endorsing of the money. Also once plans of meeting external lawyers who defended the government in London are finalized, six members of the committee will interface with them.

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