Uganda parliament clears Tullow Oil of corruption allegations

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Uganda’s parliamentary ad hoc committee investigating allegations of bribery and corruption by Tullow Oil Plc in the country has said it did not find any credible evidence to incriminate the oil explorer in its report.

In the investigations Ugandan MP Gerald Karuhanga accused Tullow Oil of bribing the Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi and Ministers Sam Kutesa who heads the foreign affairs ministry and Hillary Onek who has the energy.

In October 2011 in a parliamentary session Karuhanga produced several documents showing transactions to Kutesa on his various bank accounts in Dubai, UAE and in Malta amounting to $10m.

The Prime Minister was accused of profiting from the sale of oil production rights to Italian oil firm Eni S.P.A which was formerly owned by heritage oil and gas before its acquisition by Tullow oil.

The energy minister was also accused of using his post and influences to get his relatives jobs in oil firms.

In the report the seven member committee headed by Michael Werikhe exonerated the prime minister and his two ministers of the allegations with some of the evidence provided found to be erroneous.

“Therefore, it was concluded without any doubt that the companies and persons mentioned in a Letter Regatory do not hold any account with Bank of Valleta and the transaction receipts submitted are forgeries as no such transfer of monies had ever taken place,” the committee report reads.

Bribery accusations leveled against Kutesa were also lacking water according to the committee with no evidence that the East African Development limited said to be owned by Uganda’s top diplomat ever existed.

A number of Ugandan MPs have however termed the report as not conclusive as the committee relied on correspondence evidence from Malta, UAE and UK and thus cannot be said to have reached an independent conclusion.

“As such, it is my considered opinion that the evidence tabled by the committee cannot be used as a basis of determining the veracity of the bribery allegations. The nature of corruption allegations required exceptional investigative capabilities which the committee did not possess,” Dokolo Woman MP Cecelia Atim Ogwal wrote on her minority report.

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Author: Samuel Kamau Mbote

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