Bank of Uganda will pay Shs25 bn to private lawyers who will represent and offer legal services during the inquiry by the parliamentary committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (Cosase), media reports said.
Daily Monitor recently said MPs on COSASE are reviewing the new documents which include invoices presented by external lawyers for payment of legal fees. These include tax invoices/debit note to BoU legal counsel contain, among other things, the 18 per cent Value Added Tax (VAT) charge, professional fees, and other detailed expenses covering photocopying of documents, drafting letters and perusing documents, legal counsel and representation in court, telephone costs and lawyers’ transport to court.
Although professional legal fees are billed in accordance with the Advocates (Remuneration) Regulations, Cosase will be seeking details on the hiring and payment of more than Shs25b to legal firms Masembe, Makubuya, Adriko, Karugaba & Ssekatawa (MMAKS Advocates), Bowman’s Uganda, Cohen and Collins Solicitors and Notaries and Sebalu & Lule Advocates.
The MPs also want the law firms to provide evidence for payment of VAT. They have been reviewing the documents for a week in preparation for Monday’s meeting with BoU board members.
The documents were sourced from BoU and supplementary information came from the Office of the Auditor General and Financial Intelligence Authority. Mr Timothy Masembe of the MMAKs Advocates, according to Daily Monitor newspaper, confirmed they are demanding payments from BoU but could not confirm whether it is Shs15.6b as the documents show.
“Yes, we are demanding payment, but I am not sure of the amount. I am not the accountant. But what I know is that lawyers’ fees are provided for by law and are based on statutory instruments. I am not in position to comment on the amount,” Mr Masembe said by telephone yesterday.