HANDSHAKE: “Intelligence Gathering” Was Part of URA Extraordinary Work

The Uganda Revenue Authority chief executives have said they were also involved in complex “intelligence gathering” during a protracted tax battle between Uganda and the British oil giant, Heritage Oil and Gas limited.

In its terms of reference, the parliamentary committee on Commissions Statutory Authority and State Enterprises demanded that the URA officials detail all the roles played by each of the employees who received the controversial Shs6bn handshake cash.

The tax body however failed to plainly state what each of its employees did and instead generalized everything that it was “team work”.

“Work was done in team as there was no specific time sheet for each expert, ” part of the 43 page official URA response to COSASE said. The response stressed that there were “team formation and composition” conducted in four stages that included intelligence gathering due to the nature of the case.

“The case was extra ordinary in nature, which required extra ordinary skill and industry as it involved a lot of technical, technical, diplomatic and legal maneuvers.”

“There was pre-assessment stage with several his level negotiations, intelligence gathering, technical analysis, document reviews, meetings and benchmarking.”

This reporter talked to the outgoing URA head of communications, Sarah Birungi Banage to explain more about the intelligence gathering they carried out since the country has internal and external security organizations to take care of such if needs arise.

“The nature of the case made almost everything inevitable including intelligence gathering,” She said adding that it is a normal task in tax administration and it’s under a unit. “Intelligence gathering is a normal task under tax administration. It’s a unit under Customs.”


Another stage handled by the tax body was assessment and post assessment. “There was also assessment and post assessment stage which included document reviews, legal analysis, tax analysis, risk analysis, legal research, high level meetings, collection and enforcement, objections management processes and legal advisory opinions.”

The third stage was the appeals tribunal. “Tax Appeals Tribunal stage required a lot of work going into legal representation, technical analysis of the case, court documents drafting, witness preparation, risk analysis, submissions, evidence gathering, court hearings and appearances and consultancy.”

There is however a number of repetitions of tasks in all the above three stages narrated by the URA. Document reviews and high level meetings are repeated in both pre assessment and assessment stage while risk analysis is named in both assessment and tax appeals tribunal stages.

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