President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni yesterday admitted having authorized payment of shs 6 billion to 42 government officials who participated in the litigation process against Heritage Oil in London.
Museveni told the National Resistance Movement (NRM) Caucus at State House Entebbe that the Shs.6 billion that was given to a group of lawyers after winning the oil case against Heritage Oil, an independent Jersey-based oil and gas exploration and production company, was deliberate adding that he is proud of the Uganda group who fully deserved their reward.
“I reject that I did anything wrong. I am very proud of these young people,” he said.
He informed the meeting that the case was no ordinary case and observed that it was an international war, which the lawyers and the tax ladies (Ms. Allen Kagina and Ms. Akol Doris), won amidst the pressure, challenges and the temptations that they faced.
Mr. Museveni also reiterated that during the court proceedings of the case, he was approached by many people who told him to settle the issue outside of court because, they said, Uganda was likely to lose a lot of money.
He, however, said he had been strengthened by that Ugandan group of young people who assured him that they were going to win the case. It was through this background that he decided to thank them.
“If the support staff were part of the big war that saved Uganda trillions and gained US$451 million, if they get 50 million Ugandan shillings for their first time in life, it is okay. It was their luck that they were part of the war,” remarked Mr. Museveni.
He further told the Caucus that in the last 30 years, he has only given the monetary ‘handshake’ twice; the first that occurred in 2006 when he was very happy with a group of scientists who had discovered oil and rewarded them publicly in Kololo with the highest being given about US$20,000, and the second being the recent one.