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SH6billion: URA explains ‘Presidential handshake’

URA head Doris Akol shares URA revenue figures with the press earlier this year. PHOTO URA

Uganda Revenue Authority has explained the circumstances under which several government officials were rewarded for helping win the 2014 capital gains tax case against UK based oil company Heritage.

“It is standard international best practice for employees to receive bonus payments/ or honoraria for exemplary performance in both the public and the private sector,” the statement said.

“Equally under the Ugandan Constitution; the President has a prerogative as a fountain of honor to reward exemplary performance and this has been exhibited in the fields of health, academia, sports to mention a few.”

URA’s statement follows publication online by chimpreports.com of the list of those who were paid after Uganda won the over $400m case against Heritage, questioning if it was legal and if it went through government official processes.

The officials given honorarium were from URA, Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development and the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development.

The statement adds that, “For the record the payments went through the necessary approvals as required by the Public Finance Management Act as amended. The Commissioner General (Doris Akol  below) was duly appointed as an accounting officer to disburse respective payments to designated beneficiaries after deduction of applicable taxes and other statutory deductions.”

THE FULL URA STATEMENT

URA Press Brief- Facts on Oil Money by Uganda Revenue Authority on Scribd

One comment

  1. There has been an attempt to “philosophize” the argument for the cash bonanza—which argument, critically examined, is an insult to the study and body of philosophy. Many public servants—almost every day—engage in, and encounter—potentially life-ending situations. Others toil for the sustenance of our country. Spies disrupt illegal mind-altering drug deals worth billions of shillings, preserving our society. Doctors battle deadly epidemics or work in unsafe conditions. Yet others subvert terrorist plots for the good of millions of their fellow human beings. Teachers—working for a “dying” wage—go to great lengths to nurture a future doctor, engineer, and teacher. etc. In short, patriotic citizens contribute to the well-being of their country out of love, honor and duty. They do not blackmail or hold their country hostage through farcical philosophy in the course of doing their everyday job or in providing service . In return, the government or employer compensates them in a way commensurate to the cost of doing such ordinary duty so they can sustain themselves, family and use those proceeds to survive or for the better of their country. This story exposes yet again how some and increasingly most public servants in this country—now look to money as an epitome of excellence, as a symbol of achievement and not a reward for normal and ordinary service. Our Ugandan society—especially in the last twenty years—has monetized what would otherwise be commonplace morals. We are in a deep immoral abyss for which we require a different thinking, prayers and honestly, a new government and governance system. Musevenism and NRM have failed. Period. There is, however, a very simple and short-term solution to this problem. Very simple. The government should rescind the decision, recover the money and put it back to the coffers. The government can then reward these few extra-ordinary ”hard-working” Ugandans—some imbued with “philosophy”—with MEDALS OF EXCELLENCE. (I personally do not think this is worth any medals. This was an everyday desk job requiring best effort).
    Otherwise, Ugandans are in increasing danger that some other “lazy” public servants will receive more “philosophical” fuel—through this bonanza—to continuously “reward” themselves “privately” almost to an equal or worse level. In other words, these “lazy” Ugandans may justify revving up corruption. But the larger question—all Ugandans of goodwill must revisit and debate following this outcry—is how this country got to “philosophizing” greed and materialism. We all must weep for the country our children will find—if ever there will be anything left of it.

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