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Drama In Parliament As Katuntu, Solicitor General Clash

There was drama in Parliament as Abdu Katuntu, the Chairman of the Committee Of Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) and Francis Atoke, the Solicitor General clashed over the expenditure of Shs11.9bn meant for the facilitation of the oil case between Heritage Oil and Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), leaving attendees in shock.

The heated exchange took place on Thursday as officials from the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs appeared before COSASE that is probing the historic Shs6bn Presidential Handshake.

Drama ensued when COSASE boss, also Bugweri County, Katuntu tasked Atoke to table documents detailing how the supplementary budgets and other budgetary allocations were spent by the Ministry to facilitate the arbitration of the oil case in London.

An angry Atoke responded, telling MPs that although Shs11.9bn was approved as supplementary, the Ministry only spent 189m sitting allowances and the remaining balance of Shs11.7bn was frozen on orders of the Committee on Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.

Asked to table documents to support his claims, Atoke shocked legislators when he told them point blank that he wasn’t able to retrieve the documents because Parliament didn’t give them enough time to look for the documents.

“Give us more time to bring the documents. These are documents of 2010, it isn’t possible to get the documents today. Some of the files are in the archives,” Atoke pleaded with MPs.

However, Katuntu cut him short, arguing:  “I think it is unfair for you to proceed along those lines. If I were you, I would be humble enough and say it was a mistake. The documents you tabled are full of mistakes and vague.”

In the end, MPs ordered the Auditor General to conduct a forensic audit into Ministry of Justice expenditures.

“… The Auditor General is directed to go and scrutinize all supplementary budgets and all budget allocations to the Ministry Of Justice in respect to the facilitation of the court proceedings, both here and in London,” Katuntu ordered, ending the brawl between the two legal brains.

The Auditor General has been given a week in which he will also analyse the documents tabled before COSASE by Atoke in respect to budget allocations from 2010 to 2016.

It should be noted that Ministry of Justice tabled documents showing that they had spent Shs2.7bn to unknown individuals(read ghosts) during the arbitration of the oil case.

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