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Parliament Withdraws Application to Cross Examine AG in Oil Handshake Case

In 2017, Ali Sekatawa, the former Lawyer of Uganda Revenue Authority petitioned court to stop government from implementing the findings and recommendations of COSASE.
28 Feb 2019 20:33
Parliament has withdrawn its application in which they wanted the Attorney General William Byaruhanga cross-examined over the six billion shillings handshake. 

In 2017, Ali Sekatawa, the former Lawyer of Uganda Revenue Authority petitioned court to stop government from implementing the findings and recommendations of the Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises- COSASE.

COSASE was investigating circumstances under which top government officials shared 6 billion Shillings as a bonus for helping Uganda secure 1.4 trillion Shillings in capital gains tax from Heritage Oil's sale of its stake to Tullow. 

According to Sekatawa, who received 242 million shillings the committee selectively evaluated evidence leading to wrong conclusions. He also challenged 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.

While appearing before High Court Justice Andrew Byabashaija, on Thursday, the lawyers of Parliamentary Commission Tina Cherotich and Solomon Kirunda told court that they had made consultation with their superiors who advised them to abandon cross-examining Attorney General and the applicant Ssekatawa over their affidavits sworn in the matter. 

The Presiding Judge Byabashaija also told Cherotich it was not going to be possible to cross-examine the Attorney General because he is a witness and also a respondent.

He told Ssekatawa to file his written submissions in the matter and serve the respondents before March, 1st, 2019.

Byabashaija said that if there is any rejoinder it should be made by April 5th then the Judgment will be delivered on May 31st.

The respondents were faulted for having recommended the Inspector General of Government Irene Mulyagonja to do investigations yet she is also biased on grounds that she appeared before COSASE and gave her opinion that the President had no powers to give the handshake.

Ssekatawa who is also a beneficiary argued that the COSASE committee led by Abdu Katuntu was composed of legislators who had also given their opinions prior to the commencement of investigations.

In his petition, Ssekatawa says that Katuntu and MP Medard Sseggona shouldn't have been part of the investigation since it was improper on grounds that they had earlier approved the expenditure during the ninth Parliament when they were members of Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee.

Last year, Justice Byabashaija issued an interim order blocking the IGG from ordering the beneficiaries to refund the money and also to start investigations until this main case is determined.

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