The money was given to government officials following court victory against oil company, Heritage in London in 2015. Here, the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) dismissed a case filed by Heritage, which had challenged a decision by URA to collect a Shs 1.1 trillion capital gains tax. This was after Heritage sold its stake to Tullow Oil.
The payment to the public officials was judged by public opinion to be wrong
The High Court Civil Division has rejected findings and
recommendations of the Parliamentary committee on Commissions, Statutory
Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) that people who benefited from the 6
billion shillings presidential oil handshake refund the money.
The committee, which was led by Bugweri legislator Abdu Katuntu, ordered that
the officials refund the money and be investigated.
Justice Andrew Basahaija ruled on Friday that the recommendations of the
committee were illegal and said the orders of the committee "be removed
from public orders and should not be implemented."
He said he didn't find anything wrong with the officials who received the
The case was taken to court in 2017 by Ali Sekatawa, who received over 200
million shillings on the handshake. He questioned Parliament’s role in
questioning the presidential donation to the team that worked on the oil case
which they argue earned Uganda millions of dollars.
Sekatawa, who is now the legal officer at the Petroleum Authority of Uganda,
was an employee of Uganda Revenue Authority at the time.
This ruling is a win for people who received the money but also raising more
questions among Ugandans on whether public officials paid using taxpayers money should be receive more money as ‘handshake’ for doing their work.
The money was given to government officials following court victory against oil
company, Heritage in London in 2015. Here, the United Nations Commission on
International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) dismissed a case filed by Heritage, which
had challenged a decision by URA to collect a Shs 1.1 trillion capital gains
tax. This was after Heritage sold its stake to Tullow Oil.
The court directed Heritage to pay 11.5 billion shillings in costs to
Uganda. Armed with this victory, the officials asked President Yoweri
Museveni to pay them some money as a thank you, which came to be famously known
as the “oil handshake”.
Other people who received the money include former URA commissioner General Allen
Kagina, who is now the head of Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA).
The current URA boss Doris Akol, former Kampala Capital City Authority
executive director Jennifer Musisi also received the money. Others include
former Attorney General late Peter Nyombi and former deputy attorney general
The ruling, which renders useless the 95-page report by COSASE, prohibits the
implementation of the findings and awards costs to the applicant – Ssekatawa.
Among other things, the committee had recommended that the beneficiaries refund
the money, that they be held accountable for flouting laws to solicit donation
from the president and that a bill be introduced to review presidential
It had also recommended that the Inspector General of Government (IGG)
investigate with the view of finding culpability and possible offenses.
Justice Basahija adds that none of the recommendations should be