Ex Attorney General, Solicitor General Deny Solicitation Claims
Former Attorney General, Fred Ruhindi has denied reports that he solicited for the Ugx 6 billion reward to 42 public officers.
The money, which has since caused public uproar, was paid to the officials as a reward for their contribution to the winning of an oil tax arbitration case in London.
While appearing before the committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) on February 14, 2017, Ruhindi dismissed reports by URA Commissioner General, Doris Akol, that he had no hand in asking for the money for the officers.
The former Nakawa MP revealed that President Yoweri Museveni, in a cabinet meeting on November 14, 2014, promised the government team that represented Uganda in the case, of a reward if they won the case.
In a subsequent letter written in June 2015, Ruhindi explained that he reminded the President of the reward he promised.
He also dismissed claims by Akol that he drafted the list of beneficiaries to receive the money. In his defence, Ruhindi stated that at that time, he was Deputy Attorney General and did not have the mandate to do so.
The committee also interfaced with the Solicitor General, Francis Atoke, who received Ugx 129 million for his role as the lead counsel of the government team.
Atoke was questioned over his reluctance to advise the government team on the reward, seen by legislators as irregular and illegal.
Committee chairperson, Abdu Katuntu told Atoke that a similar reward, which was proposed by the Ministry of Justice, for principal State Attorney, Patricia Mutesi, was rejected by the Inspectorate of Government in 2014, after helping NSSF win a case against Alcon International.
Atoke, in response, explained that the IGG had noted that the reward was not applicable to Mutesi because she was not a staff of NSSF. Atoke also revealed that he did not consult with the URA board over the payment of the Ugx 6 billion, noting that his correspondences with Akol were enough since she was the authority there.
Former Attorney General, Peter Nyombi, who also appeared before the committee did not make a presentation.
The officials return to the committee tomorrow February 15, 2017 to explain their roles.