By Serestino Tusingwire
MPs investigating the Shs6 billion that was paid to government top shots for settling a tax dispute in London, on Monday yet again put officials of Uganda Revenue Authority to task to explain the legality of the payment.
The cash payout, that’s commonly referred to as “Presidential Handshake” was paid to 42 officials as a token appreciation for winning an oil tax arbitration case against Heritage Oil and Gas Limited in 2015.
However, most of the recipients were hard pressed to give consistent explanations as to offer justification for the amount of money paid to them.
The Committee tasked the URA officials to explain why they asked for a supplementary budget of Shs6 billion.
The Budget Act requires government agencies seeking supplementary budgets to make adjustments that are within the budget figure.
MPs further put URA’s Commissioner General, Doris Akol to task to explain why they requested for the Shs6billion shillings. They put it to her that the move was against the law.
However, Akol denied that they did solicit for the money, but they rather they proposed for a reward which was given.
“We did not solicit for the money, we proposed a reward,” Akol said.
SoftPower Communications boss, Sarah Kagingo is among the favourites for the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) slots as ruling NRM lawmakers prepare to vote on Tuesday.
Kagingo who is contesting for the second time on Saturday outlined her reasons for vying for a place in the regional legislature saying she wants to harness Uganda’s economic potential.
Last Friday, the NRM CEC meeting approved all the party’s 43 candidates to campaign for Eala seats.
From those, the NRM caucus tomorrow will select members. They will be joined by candidates nominated from other political parties and groups and present their candidature to Parliament for campaigns and eventual election.
There are nine seats allotted to Uganda for Eala. The NRM party has six of the nine slots and the three will be shared out by the various political parties and interest groups in Parliament.
The other parties have also nominated their own candidates to contest for the three seats.
Diamond Trust Bank has embarked on a drive to teach both its prospective and existing clients on financial management.
During a meeting over the weekend with the employees of Kampala Pharmaceutical Industries in Ntinda, Emily Miti, the PR & Marketing Officer encouraged them to always make a budget before effecting their expenses and to also ensure that money is spent on the most important things.
“After receiving a salary, one should make a budget and then start spending on things like rent, school fees and also safe at least 20% of the total earnings instead of spending on luxuries which do not make any returns,” She advised.
DTB is one of the leading financial institutions in Uganda.
She also encouraged the employees of Kampala Pharmaceutical Industries to open up savings accounts which generate some interest after having saved a specific amount of money with DTB adding that it is important for one to know their customer rights so as to avoid getting cheated.
On acquiring of loans, she noted that DTB strictly gives business loans rather than individual loans not like it’s the case with other banks. Thus, those who wanted to acquire loans were advised to come up with a legit business plan that they would vet and if they qualify would be given to them.
By Moses Batte
This week, gospel songbird Eunice Njeri shocked many when she took to her Facebook and Instagram accounts to talk about her marriage to fellow gospel musician Izzo (Isaac Bukasa), that was annulled less than 24 hours after she walked down the aisle.
“Isaac and I did go to the altar to get married. But at the end of that day, I realised one thing, I couldn’t do it, my heart was somewhere else. Probably in Africa doing what I do best; I’m still trying to figure that out. I immediately left for Kenya and have been serving God the best way I know how. To all who supported Isaac and I’m grateful.” Njeri posted.
Eunice Njeri’s 24-hour marriage annulment beat Britney Spears’ 55-hour marriage.
However, according to close friends, the relationship between the two was more likely to end the way it did because they had concealed it to the public.
“We did not even know they were dating when we heard they were engaged. We learnt about it vaguely, like everybody else.”
Whatever the reason that led to the failure of the wedding, Njeri has come under attack from many fans who believe she “sinned”. However, going through her social media pages, many others are comforting her and daring those “without sin to cast the first stone.”
The two newly appointed Judges of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights are set to be sworn in today.
Justice Bensaoula Chafika from Algeria and Justice Chizumila Rose Tujilane from Malawi were appointed at the just-ended 28th African Union Heads of State and Government Summit held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The duo replaces Justices Fatsah Ouguergouz and Duncan Tambala whose term came to an end on 5 September, 2016.
The two Judges will be sworn-in during the 44th Ordinary Session of the Court which begins today in Arusha, Tanzania.
For the first time in the history of the Court, there will be five female judges sitting on the 11-member court.
The increased number of female Judges is the fulfillment of the adequate representation provided for in Article 12 and Article 14 of the Protocol establishing the court.
By Serestino Tusingwwire
The Rwenzururu King, Charles Wesly Mumbere, is today returning to Jinja High Court for hearing of his bail application. The Omusinga will appear before Justice Michael Elubu.
On January 13, Justice Eva Luswata released Mumbere on bail but he was re-arrested shortly after and slapped with fresh charges, which prompted his subjects to make a fresh bail application, which is due for ruling later today.
Mumbere was remanded together with his Prime Minister, Johnson Thembo Kitsumbire and 161 Royal guards to Luzira Prisons in November last year over the Kasese clashes, which claimed the lives of more than 100 suspected Rwenzururu Royal Guards and police officers.
They face 41 counts ranging from treason, terrorism, murder, attempted murder to aggravated robbery and malicious damage to property.
Clearance Bwambale, the Rwenzururu Spokesperson, said that members of the Royal family including the Chief Prince, Christopher Kibanzanga will stand surety for the King.
Mumbere at first had 6 sureties who included 5 of members of parliament from Kasese district, which perhaps did not please the state since they belong to opposition, thus forcing for his arrest.
By Serestino Tusingwire
Renowned porker crashers in Masaka district are in great starvation fears following a crackdown by Police and local leaders aimed at restricting its sale due to an outbreak of swine fever.
Police over the weekend carried out an operation against people who transport pigs in the neighbouring districts in the wake of outbreak of swine fever and resolved stop its sale.
Some residents have resorted to transporting the infected pork in sacks and baskets for sale at the local stalls.
According to Karumba Mukasa, the District Deputy Veterinary Officer, a quarantine imposed to restrict the movement of infected pigs is being violated.
“The swine fever has no drug, and cannot be vaccinated, that’s why the sale and movement of pigs have been restricted,” Dr Mukasa said.
The leaders accuse some butcher men of defying quarantine imposed by the district and warned them to stand action.
They therefore don’t want any further animal transportation beyond 9pm, and whoever is involved in the business must be in possession of a letter from LC1 chairperson.
The affected areas include Bukakata, Kyanamukaka, Buwunga, and Kyabakuza subcounties.
By Serestino Tusingwire
More than 100 private schools have been closed in Mukono district for failing to meet the Ministry of Education’s basic standards on sanitation and building structures.
The closure comes days after the state minister for primary education, Nansubuga Seninde directed officials to shutdown schools that do not comply with the laid down standards.
Authorities in Mukono district carried out operations across all the schools in the district to ensure that all the schools possess conducive atmosphere for their students.
Most of these schools were found with crumbled rooms and others lacked proper buildings.
“Students study in unfinished buildings which puts their lives in danger,” the district health inspector who was part of the team said.
As students return to their respective schools for the start of first term’s academic business, the ministry insists that all schools must comply with all the basic schools for them to be allowed to continue operating.
By Serestino Tusingwire
Members of the Uganda Medical Workers Union have relieved their general secretary Dr. Sam Lyomoki of his duties for reportedly mismanaging the union.
Lyomoki who doubles as the Secretary General of central organization of free trade union was dismissed on Saturday.
His troubles started way back in 2011 after the high court ordered him to relinquish one of the offices he was occupying.
“Observing that the said honorable Dr. Sam Lyomoki failed to bring court decision to the attention of NEC, was in contempt of court decision and is not a representative of the Uganda Medical workers,” acting Secretary General, UMWU said.
UMWU members also threatened to recall Lyomoki from the parliament as the Workers MP, since he was dismissed as the General Secretary of the union.
However, Lyomoki described his critics as day dreamers.
“These leaders are fighting their own wars and they claim they are fighting for the good of the Union, they get people from streets and address them as members, yet members of the union are clearly known,” Lwomoki said in response to the claims.
Cameroon came from behind to beat Egypt 2-1 and seal a fifth Africa Cup of Nations in a thrilling, edgy final.
Substitute Vincent Aboubakar swept in the winner two minutes from time, flicking the ball over defender Ali Gabr and thumping it home.
Nicolas Nkoulou had earlier equalised for Cameroon, rising highest to power in a header on the hour mark.
The equaliser cancelled out Mohamed Elneny’s opener on 22 minutes with a beautifully taken near-post strike.
The wild celebrations for Aboubakar’s winner announced Cameroon’s return to the continental summit, after a wait of 15 years.
It also makes them the second most successful nation in the competition’s history – behind Egypt – and marks the first time they have beaten the Pharoahs in the final in three attempts.
Besiktas striker Aboubakar ran towards the triumphant Cameroon fans in the Stade de l’Amitie stands in Libreville to celebrate, pursued by delirious teammates and coaching staff.
Underdogs Cameroon had already upset the odds to reach the final and stunned the much-fancied Egyptians with the late dramatic strike, after fellow substitute Nkoulou had drawn them level.
Despite being beset by pre-tournament problems, including the withdrawal of key players such as Joel Matip and Eric Chuopo-Moting, coach Hugo Broos managed to assemble a squad that got their reward for being strong, adaptable and resilient in equal measure throughout.
By Milton Emmy Akwam
Hundreds of thousands of locals and leaders across Lango sub-region were on Thursday excited after President Museveni opened the seventh regional office for Lands.
The zonal lands office is located in Central division, Lira Municipality and will serve the eight districts in the sub-region.
According to President Museveni, the office is instrumental and would make it easy for locals to get quick land titles, land survey at cheap rates.
Museveni told the people of Lango and Uganda that government would ensure poor families get land titles at cheaper rates.
“This office I commissioned today will help you get to know more issues about land; and having land titles without traveling to Entebbe,” Museveni said.
He urged locals to fence their lands legally (by getting land title) or physically by barbed wires so that nobody encroaches on it.
“When I buy a soda and I open but fails to close and flies enter, it’s not a fault of flies but me. So, make you fence your land so next time Karamojong do not enter,” he said in response to Karamojong invasion of Lango districts’ of Otuke and Alebtong.
The Lingala legend Koffi Olomide landed in town on Wednesday ahead of Jack Pemba’s Birthday where he will be performing alongside other Ugandan artistes like Maurice Kirya, Fusion Band and VC dancers.
A month ago Koffi confirmed that he would be in Uganda at a special request to be at Jack Pemba’s event through an online video that he posted on his you-tube account.
Jackson Pemba who is the president of Pemba Sports Africa is celebrating his 44th birthday today at Speke Resort Munyonyo.
Jack Pemba who is already hyped up for his big day posted a video of him and Olomide as he picked him from the airport hinting that they are getting ready to rumble.
According to our sources,the luxurious party is going to be only VIP and entrance is only by invite and about 150 guests are believed to be attending this event.
Members of Parliament on the committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) have expressed anger over the absence of a tax assessor on the list of beneficiaries of the UGX6 billion presidential handshake.
The committee is currently investigating circumstances under which 42 public officers received UGX6 billion as a reward for winning an oil tax case against Heritage and Tullow oil companies.
The legislators learnt from one of the beneficiaries of the presidential handshake, Robinah Nakakawa, who is the Manager, URA Natural Resource Management Unit, that Bernard Sanya was appointed as a supervisor in the URA Natural resource management unit May 2010.
“Before that he was actually working as an officer and used to consult me on most of the technical issues so I started working with him and whenever we had some instances where we wanted someone to assist, he used to come in so handy,” Nakakawa told the MPs.
She further revealed that Sanya was instrumental in determining the $404 million capital gains tax slapped on Heritage after it sold 50% of its stake to Tullow.
“A decision had been taken to dothis transaction. We had to look for someone to initiate this into the system. He raises the assessment and it is reviewed by another person,” Nakakawa explained.
However, her explanation drew anger from legislators, including Abdu Katuntu, Bugweri County MP, and committee chairman, who wondered how one of the core team in assessing the taxes in the transaction was not included on the rewards list.
“There is an assessor who raises the assessment. He owns it by actually signing it. So there is another supervisor checks it…I am finding it hard to believe that you have to look for somebody to sign,” Katuntu queried.
Katuntu wondered how Nakakande benefitted from the bonus payment yet Sanya, who also participated in the process, did not.
“We have to talk to Sanya Bernard. It may not be about Sanya alone but the fairness of the whole thing and at a policy level does the whole institution benefit from it?” Katuntu asked.
In response, Nakakawa said why a team reviewed the assessment, but did not have a hand in the drafting of the list of beneficiaries.
“I did not come up with that list of the beneficiaries. It was not my responsibility,” she added. During the same meeting, MPs tasked the URA officials to produce the final ruling of the court case.
Aruu County MP, Odonga Otto revealed to the committee that there was information that government did not win any case, rather opted for an out of court settlement.
“Which case of the two did we win and what is the exact description court gave to show that Uganda won this case?” Otto queried.
Ali Ssekatawa, the Assistant Commissioner, Litigation explained that the actual award is with the Attorney General’s possession, stating that it is confidential and can only be availed by the office.
By Andrew Cohen Amvesi
A nasty tribal clash has left hundreds of locals homeless in Arua district.
Police said close to 60 homesteads have been abandoned, houses destroyed and animals looted in a fight in which locals of Galanji clan attacked the people of Kakwa and Yivo clans, all in Ayivuni Sub County, Arua district.
Galanji comprises of Kijorokubo, Nunu and Kubu villages while Yivo and Kakwa are both in Odravu village.
According to Martin Odipiyo, the officer in charge of Odramacaku police post in Ayivuni Sub County, the fight started on Tuesday shortly after the death of Isaac Andama, 24, a member of Galanji clan.
Andama was reported stabbed to death in the night of January 31, 2017 while on his way home from Arua town by unknown people.
However, Odipiyo said following a long time land feud between the two parties, the angry members of Galanji clan suspected that the deceased was killed by the people of Kakwa and Yivo clans.
As a result, Odipiyo said the people of Galangi ganged up to storm the homes of the accused persons, and started beating them up hence forcing them into exile in the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo and Maracha district.
“The suspects destroyed about 17 houses in Odravu village, looted animals, stole and destroyed household property worth millions of shillings,” said Odipiyo.
Odipiyo said when police intervened, the attacking locals from Galanji clan also fled in to DR Congo for fear of being arrested.
But while assessing the level of destruction on Thursday, Jonathan Musinguzi, the Arua DPC said police has so far arrested four people in connection with the attacks.
Musinguzi warned that the hunt for the suspects is still ongoing, promising that they will all be arrested and brought to book.
“We shall not accept this to happen here. Since the locals have chose to take the law in to their own hands, we are going to hunt them down one by one,” Musinguzi emphasized.
He said all those arrested will be arraigned in Courts of law to answer charges of malicious damage, theft and assault.
By Serestino Tusingwire
Top officials of the Uganda Revenue Authority have denied claims that they disguised the Shs6bn payout to 42 government officials following successful litigation of oil tax cases in London, UK.
The officials led by URA Commissioner General Doris Akol put the blame on the finance ministry for indicating that the money was given as a supplementary budget for Makerere University non-teaching staff.
“That request originated from the ministry of finance, we would like to request the committee to ask the ministry of finance what they were considering in making the request as they did,” Akol said.
URA officials were making a third appearance to the select committee (COSASE) probing the UGX6bn pay out to government top shots for their role in the tax case Uganda won against two oil companies (Herritage and Tullow) over four years ago.
When the officials were questioned on why some URA staff who assessed the tax liabilities of the intransigent oil companies did not benefit from the payout, they simply responded that it was a collect effort.
The committee is meeting URA officials for the last time today as it proceed to other parties involved in the case.
By Serestino Tusingwire
State House is allegedly embroiled in a row with the owner of one of its rented premises over payment of rent in local currency.
The Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) while meeting with officials from state house on Thursday learnt that Alexander Okello, the owner of Okello House in Nakasero, an upscale suburb in Kampala, which houses some of the State House staff, wants the institution to pay its rent in dollars.
Lucy Nakyobe, the State House comptroller told MPs on the committee that according to Ministry of Finance standing orders, all government institutions must transact business, including payment of rent in Uganda shillings.
Nakyobe and some other officials had appeared before the committee to respond to queries raised by the Auditor General in his June 2014 and 2015 financial audits.
In the June 2015 report, the Auditor General queried the high rent arrears totaling Ugx1.2 billion, which State House had accrued by the time the audit had been done, yet the tenancy agreement had expired in 2013.
Some legislators including Theodore Ssekikubo, Lwemiyaga County MP, wondered why government has failed to find permanent occupancy for its staff in spite of having a lot of space at State House, Entebbe.
Nakyobe however explained that the matter was resolved and the arrears cleared.
By Serestino Tusingwire
Members of the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee on Thursday learnt that State House employs about 1000 staff, with over 90% of them directly recruited by the president.
The MPs were interfacing with State House officials led by the Comptroller Lucy Nakyobe who said only 10% of the State House staff are recruited by the Public Service Commission while the rest are hand-picked by the President.
The State House accounting officer also informed the committee of the budget constraints mainly arising out of expenses on cultural and religious leaders, donations to sports personalities and state burials.
State House Comptroller Lucy Nakyobe led a team of State House officials to the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee to answer queries arising out of the Auditor General’s Report of the 2014/2015 financial year.
Despite working under a budget of Shs203 billion at the time, MPs found out that State House spent much more in excess especially on presidential pledges which had been allocated Shs80 billion shillings. This was mainly through supplementary budgets,
Nakyobe revealed that the president’s domicile is overwhelmed by expenses on the welfare of cultural and religious leaders, state burials, and donations to sports personalities.
“My mandate is to facilitate the president at all times, if he wants to help somebody, it is my duty to make sure that that this person is helped,” Nakyobe said.
By Serestino Tusingwire
Police court has convicted and sentenced nine police officers and a crime preventer who were accused of beating supporters of the former FDC President candidate Kizza Besigye on the 11th and 12th July last year in areas of Kalerwe and Entebbe road.
The verdict was reached months after the Police disciplinary court began sitting at the police headquarters in Naguru to hear the case against the officers and crime preventer.
The court used evidence that aired on various media houses which showed officers beating people along Namasole road in Najjanakumbi and Kalerwe as the former FDC Presidential candidate Kizza Besigye headed home after being granted bail.
The court ruled that the three senior officers; Andrew Kagwa, then Kampala Metropolitan Police South Commander; Katwe Division Field Operations Commander, Patrick Muhumuza; Wandegeya Division Police Commander, Moses Nanoka; and Kampala Metropolitan Police Field Force Commander; Samuel Bamuzibire should be severely reprimanded and a third of their February month salary deducted.
Court also ordered that Kagwa, Muhumuza, and Nanoka should be demoted to a rank lower than their current one. An exception was made for Samuel Bamuzibire on grounds that he was not present at the time of the beating.
The chairperson of the court Dennis Odongpiny also ruled that Dan Tandeka, a crime preventer who participated in the beatings disassociates himself from working with the police for the next 20 years.
Robert Wanzala, one of the officers charged alongside Moses Nanoka was not present at the ruling. The chairman said he could face arrest for failing to respond to the court’s summons.
Odongpiny however said the officers still have chance to appeal to the police council.
By Andrew Cohen Amvesi
Local leaders in Arua have bitterly attacked Allan Kagina, the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) Executive Director over what they termed as ‘unfulfilled Ferry pledge.’
The leaders claim that during her visit early last year, Kagina promised to assemble a ferry at Ukuliku landing side in Rhino Camp Sub County in Arua district.
The Ferry, according to Kagina, would connect the people of Arua to their Amuru counterparts across river with the hope of boosting business and minimizing cases of drowning on R. Nile.
Kagina promised the locals that the Ferry would be operational by May 1, 2016 but to date, her words haven’t turned into action, a reason leaders have openly come out to question her promise.
“Early last year, Kagina led a very big UNRA delegation here. They went down to Rhino Camp at the Ferry site. She promised that the Ferry will be there by May but up to now, the Ferry is not there,” Peter Debele, the Arua RDC said.
Debele raised the concern during a meeting with UNRA officials at the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) – Arua boardroom in Arua town on Wednesday.
The UNRA officials led by Jacqueline Lamunu, the UNRA Land Acquisition Officer were in Arua district to give hope to the people affected by the construction of Vurra-Arua-Koboko-Oraba road.
Out of 3, 935 affected people, at least 785 are yet to be compensated for their properties destroyed in the course of constructing the road.
According to Lamunu, they have come on ground to find out the challenges regarding the compensation process as UNRA liaises with the Ministry of Finance to have all the affected people compensated.
However, Sabo Kamilo, the Arua district Secretary for Finance, who represented Sam Wadri Nyakua, the district Chairperson also used the same opportunity to join Debele in attacking Kagina over the contested Ferry.
“Locals have now become impatient over this Rhino Camp – Amuru Ferry. The promise was that the Ferry was to be functional in May but now we are coming to another May without the Ferry,” Sabo retaliated.
“You need to follow up the matter and see that the Ferry is operational because people want to do business across the River,” Sabo asked the UNRA officials to remind their Boss.
The pressure forced Eng. Tonny Ocet, the UNRA Arua area Manager to apologize on behalf of Kagina for the delayed Ferry.
“We really apologize for the delays but UNRA is not just sitting back,” Ocet said.
Ocet attributed the delay to the bad terrain on Amuru side which he said UNRA Design Engineers are now working on.
He asked the local leaders to give UNRA more time to fix all the challenges for the ferry to start sailing without any problem in the near future.
Swangz Avenue new kid on the block Vinka surely has her game on the grip.
Just a week after releasing her first singe ‘Level’, the self-styled diva has also released the video.
Shot and directed by Swangz Avenue’s Aaronaire, the flick is one you’d gladly refer to as a perfect start for the diva.
In her now-famous purple weaves, Vinka brings out her other side, away from the reserved manager we used to know.
From the start of this week, she has been promising her ever-growing Legion of fans that she’ll drop the video once she gets 10k likes on Facebook.
At 11am on Wednesday, she premiered the eye-catching video on her Facebook page.
As we speak now, Vinka is ranked among the fastest growing divas in the country, both on social media and in real life.
Vinka aka Vero has was Irene Ntale’s manager until recently when she decided to venture into active music as well