NRM's Secretary General Justine Kasule Lumumba
The National Resistance Movement Secretary General, Justine Kasule Lumumba and Executive Director of Uganda Media Center, Ofwono Opondo have sharply criticised the dishing out of a staggering Shs 6bn to government officials involved in the Heritage oil case.
Appearing on NBS TV Front Line show on Thursday night, the two top NRM figures said the idea of bonuses to officials who are paid to do their job was not only bad but also risked setting a wrong precedent in government.
According to Lumumba, civil servants and officials receiving salaries from government don’t deserve extra bonuses in billions.
“Me as Kasule Lumumba I don’t agree with the development and it was bad. Why should government start awarding its own people in such a fashion?” she asked.
She stressed that if such bonuses were essential, a formal legal framework should be put in place to systematically handle it.
“If such payment is necessary then it should be legalized and things done openly,” Lumumba stressed.
The NRM SG also noted that government is struggling to pay whistleblowers who are supposed to be facilitated according to the existing laws.
“We have had institutions such as IGG which have conducted probes and recovered money. Do they ever get a handshake?” wondered Lumumba.
Shs 6bn was requested by URA Commissioner General Doris Akol who wrote several letters pestering Museveni and treasury officials to reward officials involved in the litigation process against Heritage oil.
The story broken by ChimpReports has triggered massive public outcry with government officials, civil society and opinion leaders condemning the wastage of resources.
Among the beneficiaries are high ranking and well-paid government officials including Akol who earns Shs 40m (gross) per month.
Meanwhile, Opondo who is known as a longtime defender of NRM and President Yoweri Museveni, last evening uncharacteristically stated that the latter was ill-advised in the process.
“The President was misadvised to first all involve himself in the matter and later approve it. It shouldn’t have been the case,” he said.
Opondo added that efforts by Parliament that has the constitutional mandate, to recover the money should be supported.
He also noted that there was a conflict of interest since the beneficiaries vigorously participated in the approval of the money.
“Certainly, this was prompted by the beneficiaries of the money. There was clear conflict of interest. If someone had requested for it there would be no problem,” said Opondo.