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MPs Question Multiple Requests for Oil cases Cash

This came after a URA delegation headed by Commissioner General Allen Kagina presented the Authority\'s budget estimates for the financial year 2014-2015 requesting for Ugx 1.8 billion to cater for the contingency costs on oil cases.

Audio 4

Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) is put to task to explain why it needs funding for oil cases yet a similar vote has been channeled through the ministry of Justice and constitutional affairs in the past.

 

This came after a URA delegation headed by Commissioner General Allen Kagina presented the Authority's budget estimates for the financial year 2014-2015 requesting for Ugx 1.8 billion to cater for the contingency costs on oil cases.  

Members of the finance committee of Parliament questioned the request saying the ministry of justice has been receiving money including a supplementary budget to facilitate the cases.

 

One such request was presented last month by Attorney General Peter Nyombi and Solicitor General Francis Etuke before the Legal and parliamentary affairs committee. They were asking for a supplementary budget of Ugx 3.2 billion to facilitate three arbitration cases in London.

In the cases, Heritage oil and gas and Tullow are challenging the Capital Gains Tax URA levied on each of them after Heritage sold its exploration rights to Tullow in 2010 and after Tullow sold 66 percent of its stake to Total and CNOOC in 2012.

 

Ntenjeru South MP Amos Lugolobi expressed shock that different departments are asking for huge sums of money for the same matter. He questions the difference between the cases handled by URA and those handled by the Attorney General.

//cue in: “we have seen the ministry...

Cue out: ...raising a budget for the same item.”//

Bukedea woman MP Rose Akol said that the committee needed a schedule of the cases being handled by URA and those being handled and funded under the ministry of Justice and constitutional affairs. She added that as far as parliament is concerned funds of oil cases are being handled by the legal and parliamentary affairs committee.

But Kagina told the committee that URA is handling the cases that are in the local courts while the Attorney General is handling the arbitration cases in London. Kagina asked the legislators not to mix the two issues.

 

The acting commissioner legal services Patience Tumusiime further explained that URA is defending itself against the cases lodged against it in Uganda but the Solicitor General is defending the Ugandan government in the arbitration tribunal in London where URA is a witness.

//cue in: “the cases we are...

Cue out: ...in the local courts here.”//

Tororo municipality MP Geoffrey Ekanya proposed that the Authority writes a detailed explanation of these cases and at what stage they are.

 

He wondered how the law firm representing government in the London tribunal can be the same representing URA in the High Court and Tax Appeals tribunal yet the local cases started before the arbitration in London.

//cue in: “so can we have the detailed...

Cue out: ...understand the details.”//

Ishaka municipality MP Odo Tayebwa suggested that URA appears with the ministry of Justice and constitutional affairs to give the finance committee a harmonized position about the different cases they are handling.

Budadiri West MP Nandala Mafabi asked why cases about Uganda's tax system are being interpreted by external courts saying that government is just wasting tax payers' money on would be avoidable cases.

 

Minister of state for investments Gabriel Ajedra explained that there is an arbitration clause in the production sharing agreements that stipulates that any dispute on matters pertaining the PSAs shall be settled in a third party territory.

//cue in: “it's not that we...

Cue out: ...PSAs have those clauses.”//

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