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Uganda: NIRA – Clarification on Issues Raised in the “Story Panic as National ID Data Stolen” (26.06.2017)

The Presidential Handshake report doesn’t say much, but it was a clear “error” by Museveni!

I finally got the whole COSASE report of the Presidential Handshake, what has been reported on my blog or page, has been comments of it. This time it would be direct quotes from the report that was put forward in Parliament from the Parliamentary Committee. That the President had an “error” was been weak, the whole ordeal was a bribe and the Committee didn’t have the courage to say so. Even as the position of every one was spelled out in the Report. Every single person paid out bribe was spelled out and the whole part of the allocation was broth to the daylight. Not that the insights was saying much new. But it still, shows how the President is controlling the Parliament and the use of funds. Since he was shocked of certain acts and that he was making it bonafide, but it wasn’t so. This story has been written back- and fourth.

Before more comments, let’s look at quotes from the report!

The Committee was informed by the management team of URA led by the Commissioner General that before the final arbitration ruling, the Uganda Government team briefed Cabinet on the 19th of November 2014 on the progress of the HOGL arbitration and H.E. the President promised to reward the team if they won the case” (…) “The Final Award on the merits of the arbitration was delivered on the 24th February, 2015 wherein the full panel of three Arbiters agreed in favour of Uganda Government and dismissed the entire claim of HOGL and awarded USD 4,083,840 in cost. The then Attorney General Hon. Fred Ruhindi on the 13th April 2015 (App. B1) wrote to H.E. the President reminding him of his promise to reward the team and requested him to consider a reward for noble team. He also attached a list of 24 proposed beneficiary” (…) “The Committee was informed that the Attorney General further led the Government team to meet H.E. the President at his country home in Rwakitura on the 17th May 2015 where the victory in the Heritage arbitration case was among other things discussed. That the H.E. The President thanked the team and directed the Commissioner General of URA to propose an appropriate reward for the team. H.E. The President also guided that the other Public Officers who had tremendously Contributed to the success of the case but had not been included on the first list generated by the Attorney General be included too” (COSASE, P: 8-9. 2017).

As a follow up to the H.E. the President’s letter of 16th November, 2015, the Commissioner General of URA wrote to the Permanent Secretary/Secretary to Treasury (PS/TS) in a letter dated 11th December, 2015 (App. B6) requesting him to formally designate her as accounting Officer through whom the reward would be paid and to formally requisition for the UGX 6,000,000,000 (Uganda Shillings Six Billions Only)” (…) “The Commissioner General, as advised and in a letter dated 5th May 2016 (App. B8) sought authority from the Hon. Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development to reallocate UGX. 6 Billion (Uganda Shillings Six Billion Only) from URA Tax Refund Account to URA Expenditure Account so that the 42 Public Officers could be paid and suggested that a supplementary to URA for that amount to be considered and handled by the Hon. Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development. The Hon. Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development did not grant this authority. However, by letter dated 19th October, 2016 (App. B10) he requested the Auditor General to issue an audit warrant for UGX 6 Billion” (COSASE, P: 10-11, 2017).

The Committee reviewed the budget for Financial Year 2016/2017, which was approved by the Board and subsequently appropriated by Parliament for URA activities and the UGX 6 Billion “handshake” was not budget for. The Committee further received evidence from the Board of URA to the effect that such money had not been provided for and they were hearing of that expenditure for the first time” (COSASE, P: 29, 2017).

The Committee observers therefore:

1. That it is true that USD 157 Million, which would have accrued as part of the Capital Gain Tax, was waived.

2. The contention arose out of a clause in the PSA which provided for waiver of tax signed by the then minister Hon. Syda Bbumba.

3. That the dispute would not have arisen if the PSA did not have a waiver of tax.

4. The then Ministry of Energy, Hon. Syda Bbumba, did not have authority to waive tax in that transaction and her auction of not having read the agreement before signing was irregular.

5. All the then Ministry of Energy who signed PSAs with similar clause acted ultra vires the law” (COSASE, P: 44, 2017).

Conclusion:

This “handshake” expenditure was not budgeted URA activity and therefore, a diversion of the UGX 6 Billion without lawful authority was contrary to the PFMA” (…) “H.E. The President’s approval of this “handshake” was bonafide. However, it was an error of judgement” (…) “That all funds paid out of URA account to the beneficiaries of the “handshake” should be refunded” (…) “The Executive should come up with a Bill within 90 days to regulate and streamline the Presidential Donations Budget” (COSASE, P: 45, 2017).

The Presidential Handshake has clearly showed the proof of how a visit at the Presidents farm in 2015 can lead-up to. President Museveni offered honorarium and bonuses to all the staff in the Tullow/Heritage Oil Tax Case, so all their work would benefit them. Without having it in budgets, without any votes or any sort of procedural activity, therefore it was an illegal allocation. That the Uganda Revenue Authority did allocations without proper actions, that the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development and Ministry of Energy all actors did wrong in this scenario. They misused the tax to their own benefit and the President allowed it to happen. Therefore, it is weird that the only thing the Committee concludes with a new legislation to stop it. Secondly, also refunds of the benefits for the civil servants and the NRM cronies. That the act was done without lawful authority, but that was well-known and not rocket science. IT was clear misuse of government funds to give someone an extra payday, which wasn’t allocated or had the proper legal stamp. Therefore, a clear bribe… not solicited funds which the state should pay their civil servants. Peace.

Reference:

The Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and the State Enterprises (Cosase) – ‘Report of the Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and the State Enterprises (COSASE) on the Investigations into the Circumstances under which the reward of UGX 6 BN was given to 42 Public Officers who participated in the Heritage Oil and Gas Arbitration Case’ (May, 2017)

Sekatawa claims the Presidential Handshake is Patriotic, I beg to differ!

The Ali Sekatawa, the Uganda Revenue Authority lawyer has this recent week addressed in his own way, the report from the Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE), that delivered the report on the Presidential Handshake to Parliament. This report spelled out the initial idea and talk of refunding the handshake back to URA, as the monies was commissioned correctly. Certainly, the Lawyer want to defend his responsibility and be part of illegal activity. Therefore, his defense is ridiculous, just take a look!

According to Sekatawa, the committee selectively evaluated evidence leading to wrong conclusions on certain aspects and was populist in certain aspects. He says he is angry with the fact that the MPs and sections of the public are challenging the patriotism he and his colleagues exhibited while arguing the tax dispute against two British firms then involved in Uganda’s oil sector. Sekatawa is also challenging the fact that Parliament went ahead to adopt a report, which was not signed by all the members of the committee that investigated the matter. He is also of the view that Parliament has no authority to call on him and others that benefited from the bonanza to refund it because the money wasn’t given by Parliament” (URN, 2017).

I wonder if doing clerical work as your supposed to do in a government organization, that is collecting taxes is so patriotic. In the mind of Lawyer Sekatawa it apparently is. There are certain aspects that I have to dive in to, as he explanation is weak tea. I cannot let this one fly for the sake of foolishness. If there are someone who defends corruption, it should be the corrupt leader President Museveni. Not one of his cronies inside the URA. URA are working and following provisions delivered by Parliament and the President. They follow the guidelines and regulations of taxation that has been given. The same happen as the paperwork on the Presidential Handshake has leaked. It isn’t a secret, it is in the open.

The lawyer is clearly blind by brown-envelopes filled with money, instead of working as a civil servant. The civil servants are working for the state and are paid for their duty. The duty of working inside their offices and get their designated salaries. They are not supposed be bribed or misuse state funds for their own personal gains. That is what happen in the case of the Tullow-Heritage Oil Tax Case that gave monies to all that we’re a part of the court case. The civil servants that served the state and tried to get the ill-gained funds from the companies that was supposed to be part of the consolidation fund. A fund that are used to pay for government and state projects.

Instead, the government and the URA employees we’re served with a Presidential Handshake, that the state didn’t get it designated funds, but the civil servants who worked the case. Which is a bribe and direct looting of state coffers. It isn’t anything other than thieving, a petty theft and it was sanctioned by all the cronies. Not being patriotic trying to build a state, this was state officials and inner-circle of the state giving themselves a massive pay-raise without any procedure or protocol, feeding of a criminal case and foreign investors. Not trying to build a possible foundation or security of the funds, but dole it out to the willing and the ones who knew about the transactions.

The ones that photo-copied the paperwork, the ones that took the phone-calls, the ones that wrote on the settlement, the ones that argued the case in the United Kingdom and the ones that are loved cronies of Museveni. That isn’t patriotic, that is misusing and breaking down a system for personal gains. You don’t love your nation when you sponge of it, when you eat taxes, instead of using it on schools, health-care and other necessities.

Sekatawa doesn’t love Uganda, he loves the Presidential Handshake, he loves the MONEY. MONEY is what makes his world go-around and pays for his SUV and his mansion. He doesn’t love Uganda, he isn’t loving the Republic or the history. He doesn’t respect it’s constitution and it’s laws, when he defends bribes and corrupt behavior. That he benefited from. That is lie… a damn lie. A big fat LIE.

A Presidential Handshake isn’t patriotic, neither are bribes, they are petty theft of state reserves and state funds, that was supposed to go elsewhere, than into the pockets of ill-informed men and woman who liked to corrupted by the state itself. He needs to figure this out and get his mind out the fat corrupted brown-envelopes, maybe even try to figure out the real value of patriotism. Because this is not! Peace.

Reference:

URN – ‘URA lawyer to sue Parliament over Shs 6bn oil cash bonanza’ (24.06.2017) link: http://observer.ug/news/headlines/53523-ura-lawyer-to-sue-parliament-over-shs-6bn-oil-cash-bonanza.html

SPLM-IO: “Subject: July 8, 2016, Anniversary Commemoration” (24.06.2017)

President Museveni’s speech showed his real sentiment at the Uganda Solidarity Summit on Refugees 2017

I don’t believe that President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni hold the Refugee Summit in Kampala this week out of solidarity. It was of an operation to secure his state the lost funds that the state has to raise through loans. So yesterday he had the massive speech for the event, which had lot of information, but for me this passage was telling why he had the summit and what value the refugees really have for him. You wouldn’t see them as bargain chips if you didn’t say it this way. Why do I say that, the districts with the refugee camps are in his mind deserving infrastructure, not supported by the state, but by the International Community. Therefore, it was held to raise sufficient funds for the refugees, but if he could, he could sponge of the funds. Not like the National Resistance Movement (NRM), though he was speaking in the beginning of this passage like it is NRM Regime who pays of all infrastructure, but the World Bank and others are giving either grants or direct loans to infrastructure projects.

That is why I’m kind of not surprised of the real solidarity would be pay the bills for the President and his own pledges, instead of really helping the refugees. They are just needed people to gain popularity abroad and solidarity for ones fleeing for refugee in Uganda. Instead of looking into the draconian laws of Uganda, the oppressive behavior of the NRM or even famine made by lacking governance in many districts in Uganda itself. That is why I particular looks into this part of his speech from the Solidarity Summit, as these words prove the value of the summit for the President himself.

The hosting districts of Uganda should also be rewarded. Especially in the area of the road infrastructure, the government of Uganda is already doing most of the development required. On account of many demands, however, there are certain roads that over-night become of high demand because of the sudden big numbers in the area on account of the influx of refugees. There are, in particular, two roads that should be bituminized but the government is not yet able to take on. These are: Moyo-Yumbe-Koboko, in the neighbourhood of the famous Bidi Bidi camp in Yumbe district that is hosting 272,168 refugees today; and Kabiingo-Rugaaga-Magabi-Rakai that starts from the famous Nakivaale Refugee Settlement camp that looked after the Rwanda refugees between 1960 and 1994 and is still hosting different waves of subsequent refugees” (…) “The Uganda government will, eventually, do these roads. If, however, the International Community was to expedite that process and we informed our people in the areas, they would understand that their hospitality has not been in vain” (Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, 23.06.2017).

You can really tell that the President has significant plans for using the solidarity and raised funds for needed infrastructure. Ugandan government wants to use the refugee situation to get funds for national projects and roads. That it just happens to be between the Refugee Settlements in the Northern Uganda. Where the South Sudanese refugees are settled because of the civil war in South Sudan. Certainly, the political stalemate are the ones that even President Museveni is involved in. Therefore, him trying to use it for road development.

Clearly, his real sentiment is for road development not helping the refugees. That is why the districts should be rewarded, not by the state itself, but the international community. If you ever wonder where his heart was, you got it right there. It is not like President Museveni has the refugee settlement for charity, more for leverage and use to get solidarity since the direct donor funds to his government has dwindled over the recent decade. So he has found another trick to get raised funds for his pledges. Peace.

NRM Letter to President Museveni: “Re: Memorandum of Important Issues Affecting Our Party and The Running of Government under the National Resistance Movement” (03.03.2017)

Upper Madi By-Election: Return Form for Transmission of Results (22.06.2017)

South Sudan: Humanitarian Response Eases Famine, But Food Insecurity Reaches Unprecedented Levels (22.06.2017)

Following the famine declaration, humanitarian organizations ramped-up their response in Leer, Mayendit, Koch and Panyinjiar, reaching more than 320,000 People.

GENEVA, Switzerland, June 22, 2017 – The Humanitarian Coordinator for South Sudan, Eugene Owusu, today welcomed the findings of the latest Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) data which highlight that early warning and the mobilization of a large-scale, multi-sectoral humanitarian response, have eased famine in Leer and Mayendit counties, and prevented it in Koch and Panyijiar counties, in South Sudan.

“I applaud the humanitarian community for the rapid scale-up of humanitarian response in famine-affected and at-risk areas in Unity,” said Mr. Owusu. “We deployed teams to dangerous and difficult locations and faced many challenges along the way, including clashes which forced us to relocate aid workers and delay distributions. But we were not dissuaded, and our collective efforts ultimately prevented the catastrophe from escalating.”

The Humanitarian Coordinator, however, urged the international community and humanitarian actors not to become complacent, as an unprecedented 6 million people are now severely food insecure, including 45,000 facing catastrophic food insecurity in Leer, Koch and Mayendit in Unity, and Ayod in Jonglei, and 1.7 million in IPC Phase 4, on the brink of famine.

“Half of the people across this country are severely food insecure, we are facing the longest and most widespread cholera outbreak since South Sudan became independent, and the number of people internally displaced has topped 2 million,” warned Mr. Owusu. “These are the devastating consequences of conflict, which has taken a daily toll on the desperate civilians of this nation.”

Following the famine declaration, humanitarian organizations ramped-up their response in Leer, Mayendit, Koch and Panyinjiar, reaching more than 320,000 people. Rapid response missions were carried out in at least 17 locations, and humanitarian organizations delivered vital and life-saving services, including food, emergency healthcare, vaccinations, nutritional treatments, seeds and tools for livelihoods, clean water, and critical non-food items, such as blankets, kitchen sets and mosquito nets. Each of these interventions played a critical role in halting and preventing famine.

“Despite the good news today that we have arrested the localized famine in Leer and Mayendit, we face greater needs in South Sudan than ever before,” said Mr. Owusu. “This is the time to redouble our efforts and expand our response. To do this, we urgently need free, safe and unhindered humanitarian access, and funding to respond to the escalating crisis. I call on all parties to the conflict to cease attacks against civilians, and to uphold their responsibilities under international humanitarian law. Until the violence stops, humanitarian needs will continue to grow.”

“Nimble and pro-active” peacekeeping response to be replicated in other crisis situations in South Sudan (22.06.2017)

David Shearer, the Head of the UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan, UNMISS, was speaking in Aburoc in the Upper Nile region where up to 25,000 people had taken refuge from conflict.

JUBA, South Sudan, June 22, 2017 – United Nations peacekeepers in South Sudan have been praised by the most senior UN official in the country for a “nimble and pro-active” response in support of humanitarians dealing with an emergency.

David Shearer, the Head of the UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan, UNMISS, was speaking in Aburoc in the Upper Nile region where up to 25,000 people had taken refuge from conflict.

The village, which numbered some 5,000 people before the arrival of the displaced people, was lacking in water, food and health services.

UNMISS helicoptered in 80 Rwandan peacekeepers together with armoured vehicles to Aburoc at the beginning of April creating better security conditions for the arrival of the humanitarian community, two days later.

Mr Shearer, who is also the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General, in South Sudan said “the presence of peacekeeping troops undoubtedly provided the security and confidence that humanitarian agencies needed to operate in this remote and dangerous area.”

“A cholera outbreak was stopped,” he added, “and hundreds of lives were saved as a result of this combined action together with a highly effective response by humanitarian agencies.”

“With the possibility that Aburoc was going to become a humanitarian disaster area it was important that everyone moved quickly,” Mr Shearer said. “I was very pleased peacekeepers were ready to deploy nimbly and proactively. A light and effective footprint on the ground was what was needed.”

“It’s great that UNMISS has shown this response to an emergency situation and are ready should another crisis occur in other parts of South Sudan,” he added.

The UNMISS deployment to Aburoc was planned to last a month but was extended by two weeks.

Humanitarian agencies remain in Aburoc providing life-saving services to the almost 11,000 people who remain there. UNMISS support is being continued through air patrols from Malakal.

The Presidential Handshake Probe recommend the NRM regime to regulate the Presidential Donations!

In Uganda everything in Parliament and legislation are usually connected with the President in someway or another. President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni are usually involved in any sort acts and government affairs. It is well known that many decisions are taken directly at the State House or at either the NRM National Executive Committee (NEC) and the NRM Caucus. This are all directed by the President and usually contains his vision. So that the Parliament was probing the Presidential Handshake, that was like looking directly into the provisions given by the President. The President who has accepted to give to civil servants and other government officials. So here is the report from Parliament today!

A House committee that inquired into the payment of Shs 6 billion to 42 government officials for winning a tax oil case in London wants the beneficiaries to refund the monies. Parliament’s Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) committee was instructed by Parliament in January this year to investigate the payment of the monies to the officials, said to have participated in the arbitration case between government and Heritage Oil and Gas in a London court” (…) “In its recommendations, the committee has tasked government to come up with a bill within 90 days to regulate and streamline the Presidential donations budget. Parliament last month rejected a Shs 53.8 billion supplementary budget, which included the Shs 6 billion bonus payment to the government officials. The Budget committee, in its report, said the approval of the funds was deferred pending the COSASE probe conclusion” (Parliament Watch Uganda, 21.06.2017).

Clearly, like all things in Parliament and within government in Uganda are coming back to the Okello House, or President Museveni. He is always involved and has made decisions or took charge so it happen. The same happen with the Presidential Handshake, which he gave way to after seeing the letters in the case. That the beneficiaries are claimed to have to refund their money to the state, as it was supposed to be tax to fund the state. The money the state won was not supposed to become individual income for the individuals doing clerical work for Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) or anyone else.

Now the COSASE wants the state to restrict the Presidential Donations and the monies the President suddenly dole away. So they can monitor his giving ways and his use of state funds. Clearly this will put measures to follow the President and his acts. Certainly, he would not like this, because this could show some transparency and show where the funds the President are free to give-away. This is not something that seem like President Museveni doesn’t want to follow. Since if so, he is showing real governance and open government. He prefers running in backdoor agreements and brown envelopes to get legislation through the Parliament. If the Presidential donations are monitored, than the clear corrupt behavior will be in the open and COSASE would have a field day on the actions of the State House. Certainly, the 90 days will not be met and not be followed.

If so, than it will be water-downed legislation, which doesn’t have the power to question his authority. Just like the monitoring and probing into the Presidential Handshake. The Report today proved how little they can vindicate, and even show who is to blame. As the recommendation for regulation of the Presidential Donations will certainly not be something President Museveni would prefer. Peace.

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