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Curtis lawyers deny sh14bn court costs claims

By Mary Karugaba

Added 20th April 2017 07:59 AM

"At no time did we inform the members of Parliament that we had collected the money and failed to remit it."

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"At no time did we inform the members of Parliament that we had collected the money and failed to remit it."

PIC: Chairperson of COSASE Abdul Katuntu briefs members on his committee about their trip to London as his deputy  Anitah Among and other members listen on at parliament on Wednesday. (Credit: Maria Wamala)

KAMPALA - External lawyers that defended the government in the Heritage Oil in London have refuted claims that they collected US$4m (about sh14.4bn) in costs and failed to remit it to Uganda Revenue Authority.

In a protest letter to the Parliamentary Commission, the Curtis lawyers said the government has never collected the money from heritage and they have never received instructions to collect it.

They said it was wrong for the media to report inaccurate information that in turn tarnishes their image.

 "At no time did we inform the members of Parliament that we had collected the money and failed to remit it," Curtis Lawyers said in a letter to the Commission.

Quoting undisclosed sources from the Parliamentary Committee on commission, state authorities and state enterprises, some media houses reported that the lawyers picked the money and never remitted it.

The costs were awarded to URA after Heritage lost the Capital gains tax case in December 2013 in London.

 

Heritage Oil in 2010 filed a case in the Arbitration Tribunal in London challenging URA's capital gains tax assessment of $404m and income tax assessment of $30m.

The International Arbitration dis missed the case in URA's favour awarded the Government $4m in costs.

URA Commissioner General Doris Akol told the committee last month that President Yoweri Museveni awarded a team of 42 government officials  sh6b having successfully defended Uganda in the collection of the tax which amounted to $404m and extra $4m in cost.

 The MPs led by the committee chairperson Abdu Katuntu travelled to London to meet the lawyers over their role in the case involving heritage oil against the Government of Uganda.

Katuntu defended the lawyers saying the information was false and requested the media to report accurately.

"Rather than quoting sources, you should come to me and I give you right information. Don't speculate because it embarrasses us as the committee. We want transparency in whatever we do," he said.

 

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