One of president Museveni’s top legal advisors and a senior legal officer in the Attorney General’s Chambers has laughed at the recommendation from the chairperson of the parliamentary committee on Trade concerning the complete cancellation of the entire controversial coffee agreement.
Mpaka confirmed to theGrapevine that his committee has concluded the investigations into the coffee agreement as assigned by Annet Anita Among the speaker of parliament and their report will be ready by next week.
Without revealing the committee’s findings, Mpaka appreciated all the stakeholders in the coffee business who supported them during their investigations.
Multiple credible sources on the committee revealed to theGrapevine that members overwhelmingly recommended the cancellation of the entire coffee agreement because it is against the laws of Uganda and the region of East Africa.
Sources disclosed that members agreed that it was wrong for government to give free land valued at Shs7.3bn to embattled Italian investor Enrica Pinetti, tax exemptions for 10 years including import duty, VAT, PAYE, local service tax, work permits, NSSF, stamp duty, excise duty, first right to buy Uganda coffee, cheaper direct power supply at 5 cents per unit for a decade among other incentives.
Sources added that the committee members recommended that minister Matia Kasaija and Ramathan Ggoobi who signed the controversial agreement should be punished by paying the costs for the cancellation of the agreement to the investor, not the government of Uganda.
They recommended that both public servants should be investigated on crimes of abuse of office and their motives behind the signing of such a bad agreement and if enough evidence is gathered pinning them, they should be prosecuted.
However, in the chat with this website, a senior lawyer laughed at the committee’s recommendations and insisted that the legislators don’t understand the law and their report is only based on emotions.
“Let me tell you the only way that agreement can be cancelled should be through an order from the Constitutional Court. Not just a parliamentary committee’s recommendations. I established that many of those people didn’t read the entire agreement and they are just speaking based on hearsay and emotions,” the celebrated constitutional lawyer who preferred not to be mentioned told theGrapevine.
He revealed that he was with the president when they were meeting the NRM caucus Members of Parliament and it was established by the president that the legislators were ignorant about the whole agreement and it was the reason why he guided them to first read the agreement, understand it and they meet him again.
Attorney General Kiryowa Kiwanuka, another Constitutional lawyer, told legislators on the trade committee that the controversial agreement is a good deal for the country and does not violate any laws of Uganda.
However, Richard Lumu another lawyer and also the Mityana South MP put up a strong case challenging the agreement.
He told us that he is very ready to join the team of lawyers who are going to interpret the controversial agreement before the president Museveni and convince him to support its cancellation.
Sources in cabinet told thegrapevine that the old man from Rwakitura is not willing to support the cancellation of the agreement and is set to fight for it.
Counsel Lumu advised NRM legislators not to support Museveni this time on the said agreement because they will face it with voters come 2026 parliamentary elections.
He reminded them of what happened to their colleagues who supported the lifting of the presidential Age limit from the constitution.
By Sengooba Alirabaki