The UGX6bn Presidential Handshake was Necessary – Mwenda
Veteran Journalist and the proprietor of the Independent Magazine, Andrew Mwenda has defended the UGX 6 billion that was given to the 42 government top shots saying they did a recommendable job in winning the oil arbitration case.
Mwenda, who appeared before the Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) committee on Monday, told MPs that it is very important for government to recognize excellence, even in extraordinary terms whenever it is done.
“A significant number of public officials in Uganda, when exercising their mandate, place their personal interests above the interest of this country,” Mwenda told the committee, which he wrote to, seeking its audience to give his views on the matter.
He revealed that there were attempts by some of the oil companies to intimidate Uganda Revenue Authority to discontinue with the pursuance of the $434 million capital tax gains slapped against Heritage Oil and Gas, after it sold its stake to Tullow Oil.
Mwenda said the oil companies and some government officials warned URA that the tax assessment would discourage other investors from coming to the country to invest in the oil sector.
He insisted that the government officials deserved the award for their work. He however insisted that government creates incentives for public officials who do exemplary work and they benefit from the awards.
“This money was not paid because of extra work done but because of an extraordinary victory. It does not matter if these people had worked 500 hours a day and even if they had worked for an hour a day, they were being paid for victory,” Mwenda said.
He also noted that while the selection of beneficiaries was unfair and the amount of money and procedural irregularities were made, the public and Parliament should look at the work that the team did and the outcome, which was the victory in saving the $434 million from Heritage.