The proceedings that are looking into the sharing of the 6bn presidential handshake are leaving a bitter taste in one’s mouth, particularly so the seeming definition of “extraordinary work” that has been adopted. Take for instances this extract from media reports:
Mr. Angulla who at the time of the cases was serving as URA’s Clerical officer and the custodian of all the documents regarding the oil case was paid Shs 29million in the handshake deal. His normal monthly salary from URA he said was Shs 2.3million. “I don’t want to insinuate that I was under duress while working on oil case, I only worked diligently,” he said. He also pointed out that he never travelled to the International Court of Arbitration in London. (Source Chimpreports)
In the context of Uganda, how many cases have been made to ‘disappear’ because the file(s) containing the relevant documents have gone missing? In fact, there are many rulings or judgments, if you will, in Uganda in which judges have indicated that they were not able to find ‘evidence’ documents, but made the ruling nevertheless. Moreover, if the ‘evidence’ documents that are ‘missing’ were to be factored into the ruling/judgment, to borrow Speaker Kadaga’s words, the ruling/judgment is automatically rendered STUPID.
Some would thus argue that, in the context of Uganda, Mr. Angulla’s contribution to the oil case was extraordinary. He made sure no documents ‘disappeared’. An opportunity for documents to ‘disappear’ is when they are taken for photocopying or are in transit to be served. And yet, judging from the following extract from the media, the role of the person who ensured the safety of documents during photocopying is not considered as extraordinary:
Meanwhile the committee members were astounded by another URA official Paul Ojambo who said he shared Shs 29.5million shillings of the bonuses, just for photocopying documents for the case… His work he said mainly entailed serving documents, and keeping documents confidentially. (Source Chimpreports)
Seriously, how many cases have been lost through document leaks to opposing counsel or to the media? How many cases have been lost because a copy of or copies of crucial documents went missing from court filings?
Yes, cases have been thrown out on technicalities – late filing, incomplete filing, etc; making the role of those who ensured photocopying of documents was done right and that the filings were done right and on time a significant contribution to the success of the case.
One finds the questioning of the committee obnoxiously elitist and a waste of resources. Their questioning should not be focused on ‘extraordinary contributions’ but on the principal and the legalities in which the remuneration was purportedly justified.
Under which terms and conditions of service where the 6bn handshake beneficiaries rewarded?
That is the question.
Photo: President Museveni while on a tour of the National Agriculture Show in Jinja many years ago, gives a handshake to Ms. Norah Owaraga, at the time the Fundraising Director of Uganda Change Agent Association, a non-governmental organisation.