Former Ethics and Integrity minister, Miria Matembe, has suggested that President Yoweri Museveni sells off all his hotels and cows to refund the Shs6bn he offered to 42 government officials as a presidential handshake award.
Parliament overwhelmingly approved recommendations from its Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises requiring the 42 public officials to refund the Shs 6 billion shared out for winning the oil tax arbitration case in London.
“These people were saying that they were called to be given the money while doctors, nurses and professors are suffering,” Matembe stated while appearing on “NBS FrontLine” programme Thursday night.
“How can a whole minister sign an oil agreement without reading through?” she wondered.
The programme host Charles Odongtho inquired as to whether COSASE was targeting what “I can call ‘small men’” rather than President Museveni.
Matembe then observed that President Museveni never admits his wrongs and that this was the first time he came close to admitting his wrong.
“Patriotism is looking at other people and what they are doing. How can you take all that money when some people are suffering?” Matembe wondered.
“They should return the money and be cautioned. I don’t want them to go to Luzira, I’m a bit lenient.”
She went on: “President Museveni can’t use our money to pay our money. Let him sell his property. He should sell his hotels and cows.”
Odongtho: Oh, he even has hotels?
Matembe: Yes. He once said that when he retires, he will go and manage his hotels.
In January this year, the Speaker asked the Committee on COSASE to investigate claims that the public officers solicited for a payment, honorarium, bonus or golden handshake totalling to UShs 6b contrary to standard practices of rewarding public officers.
The Committee was also asked to investigate the basis of determination of the beneficiaries to the bonus payment including the full account of the role of each beneficiary in the court cases.
During their investigations, beneficiaries denied soliciting for the reward and told the Committee that it is common practice both in public and private sector governance to reward individuals for excellence.
Beneficiaries of the reward included Hon. Fred Ruhindi, who was Deputy Attorney General; Fred Kabagambe Kaliisa, who was Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development; Mrs. Allen Kagina, Commissioner General, URA; Mrs. Doris Akol, Commissioner Board Affairs and Rulings, URA; Mrs. Jennifer Musisi, who was Commissioner Legal Services and Board Affairs, URA.
Others included: Ms. Harriet Lwabi, who was the Ag. Solicitor General; Mr. Christopher Gashirabake, the Director Legal Advisory Services in the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs; Hon. Peter Nyombi, who was the Attorney General and head of the Uganda government Legal and Technical Team.