The government of Uganda has dismissed as false, press reports claiming British Oil giants, Tullow Oil planned to offer an undocumented’ $50 million (Shs130b) payment to President Yoweri Museveni.
In a press statement issued by Fred Opolot, the Executive Director of the Uganda Media Centre says whoever is mooting an idea of a bribe or anything of that nature to any official of the government of Uganda will only be making a fool of him or herself.
While referring to the 2009 case when Tullow Oil Plc bought Heritage’s stake in the oil fields at $1.45 billion said President Museveni had one clear position on that transaction. That since Tullow Oil Plc chose to conclude the deal with Heritage without government clearance well knowing that Heritage had to pay $404million as capital gains tax, Tullow would in turn meet this tax obligation if it was to successfully transact business with the Uganda Government.
He also denied emerging reports in the ongoing court proceedings to the effect that top Tullow officials mooted an idea of funding President Museveni’s campaign in 2011 saying they are a figment of whoever dreamt of it.
Opolot added that it was because of the president’s unrelenting fight with both Tullow and Heritage that the tax in question was paid to the government of Uganda.
“All the machinations by these two oil companies to evade paying capital gains tax especially on that very transaction have been legally fought and that is the very reason government of Uganda is at the arbitration court in London.” he said in the statement
In order to further safeguard Government interest in the oil sector, Opolot said “the president and his cabinet together with parliament of Uganda have since passed new laws that will protect Uganda’s interest in this crucial oil business.”
Opolot also warned that “Uganda’s oil is a rare resource and the president has made it very clear that he will not accept any sort of arm-twisting to relent to a raw deal in this sector.”
“Undeniably, such attempts like exporting our oil in a crude form have been vehemently resisted by the president insisting that Uganda must first build her own refinery and export refined oil.” Opolot concluded.
This government rebuttal comes hours after the oil giants also issued a statement denying ever mooting a plan to offer the President the said money.
“we can state unequivocally that at no time did any Tullow director suggest or consider paying any money directly to President Museveni or to his election campaign.” Ms Cathy Adengo, the corporate communications manager in Uganda, said.
“All monies paid by Tullow in Uganda to government have been paid through the appropriate authorities.” She added.