Two government ministers have described as malice and political witch hunt the bribery allegations leveled against them. Internal affairs minister Hillary Onek and his foreign affairs counterpart Sam Kutesa say individuals are using old, recycled allegations to pull them down politically.
Two government ministers have described as malice and political witch hunt the oil bribery allegations leveled against them.
Internal affairs minister Hillary Onek and his foreign affairs counterpart, Sam Kutesa say individuals are using old, recycled allegations to pull them down politically.
The special parliamentary session to debate oil kicked off with a storm on Monday, when Western Uganda Youth MP, Gerald Karuhanga mentioned three senior government officials, who allegedly received billions of shillings in bribes from Tullow Oil Uganda.
They include Prime Minister Mbabazi, Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Kutesa and former Energy Minister Hillary Onek, who has since moved to internal affairs. Karuhanga wants government to take action against the implicated ministers.
He advised President Yoweri Museveni to sack the implicated ministers and institute an independent commission of inquiry into the mass corruption in the oil sector.
Karuhanga said Kutesa received a bribe of 17.5 million Euros, an equivalent of about 68 billion shillings while Onek was reportedly given money in five different installments totaling to 5.6 million Euros, an equivalent of about 21.8 billion shillings.
Mbabazi was named as having benefited financially when he facilitated, as Security minister, a meeting between Tullow Oil and Eni, an Italian Oil Company, to get Oil deals in Uganda.
But Kutesa describes everything as malice in a political game, warning that he is ready to fight to the end. The minister warned that at some point he will name those fighting him but noted that it is a national issue.
Speaking to URN reporter at Parliament, Onek on his part said that the allegations are a smokescreen intended to divert parliament and government from the oil litigation in London, the United Kingdom. He says the litigation in London is going to cost the country immensely since it is not in the interest of Ugandans and that there was connivance to transfer the case to London after he had left the energy ministry. Onek was transferred to internal affairs in the 2011 cabinet reshuffle.
He says he is ready to step aside to pave way for investigations, adding that he will make up his mind by end of day on Wednesday after consulting the appointing authority.
Onek notes that in 2009 he fought to ensure that Tullow Oil did not get a monopoly in the Albertine Grabben, adding that this is one of the reasons he is being fought.
He warns that he is prepared to tell the whole truth once a commission of inquiry is put in place.
Tuesday’s debate perhaps provides a peep into what analysts have called disunity within the ruling NRM party. While premier Mbabazi was defending himself against bribery allegations, the party vice chairman Hajji Moses Kigongo was seen in the gallery smiling, clapping and showing a thumbs up sign. Kigongo did this whenever Mbabazi failed to convince the house or when more documents were brought to pin the three top officials.
Other notable faces in the gallery included former East African Community secretary general Amanya Mushega, former MP Okello Okello and donor representatives.
Also in the gallery, were children from Kigorobya sub county in Hoima district, whose parents have been evicted from their land by oil speculators.
tullow oil bribery allegations