In the Republic now its official that the companies that was supposed to buy the stake and the licences to drill for oil from Tullow Oil have backed out. This means, that Total and CNOOC is not operating or willing to foot-the-bill that Tullow left behind.
This is all a play for guards, they all want the slice of the price, but don’t want to be taxed for it. They want tax-holidays for operating and extracting the oil, even as the incentives to build the oil pipeline to Tanga, Tanzania is put on hold. Since a big part of the Lake Albert Basin is still in question. Since, the Tullow Oil doesn’t want to deal with the taxes in question.
Tullow Oil have to back-pay taxes, which it lost in court. They are obliged to pay these, but want the other companies to foot-the-bill, since they will drill and exploit situation. The others gather that this has occurred before they did and that Tullow should pay it. That is why it’s a dead-lock. Because, none of the companies want to pay the taxes.
This is the infamous taxes, which led to the Presidential Handshake drama and wobbling defence of it. That made all the people and civil servants dance for a hot minute. Now, we are seeing the deadlock because of this one.
The state is allowed and should tax the ones whose operating in their territory. Without a question or without any hesitation. Because, they should be able to pay for your rights to be able to do business somewhere. However, here it’s a mismatch of the amounts gained in courts and the planned surrender of Tullow.
Tullow considered that their Farm-Down deal with Total and CNOOC would clear their old debts with the Republic. Instead, the other companies want its shares, but not its past invoices. Which is natural. Because, your paying for other peoples misfortune and cost of operating. That is simple math.
It is Tullow that has done business, who has been operating and whose been in charge of certain parts of Lake Albert Basin. They got to stay responsible. Now, they just looking like a shell-company wanting to be a tax-evasion corporation, who puts their costs on their trading partners.
Within that reason, its understandable that Total and CNOOC wants to have other options and other obligations, also pay their taxes and returns, if they start to drill on the licences previously kept by Tullow. But at this moment, the company think it can get the hook and crook.
Because the victory of the President Handshake isn’t a bargain, but a huge toll for the company. That is why it wish to push the envelope to someone else. This is not natural, but not without a consequence. That they are backing out and giving way. Instead of going into business on these sectors of Lake Albert.
The loss, is also the proposed earnings, the supposed development of the oil sector and the pipeline to Tanzania. As everything stops and shuts its operations. As the CNOOC is sacking employees and who knows what Total does too. Tullow might even do it too, until they find someone who wants to pay their bills. Because, from history they showing that they don’t want too.
The state one, what was theirs, but the companies doesn’t want to pay to play. They want tax-holidays and a free ride to the promised land. That doesn’t happen and therefore, the stalemate and yet another set-back for the oil development there. Peace.
Today, the agreement published between Tullow, Total and CNOOC made a Sale and Purchase Agreement (SPA) on Area 1 and Area 2 in the Lake Albert Basin in the Republic of Uganda. That deal was issued on the 30th August 2016.
Now, nearly three years later. Tullow Oil has now back-tracked and said the deal didn’t go through. Surely the SPA and the Joint Venture Agreement wasn’t settled properly. If not, then the press release of Tullow wouldn’t say this:
“Tullow Oil plc (“Tullow”) announces it has been informed that its farm-down to Total and CNOOC will terminate at the end of today, 29 August 2019, following the expiry of the Sale and Purchase Agreements (SPAs)” (…) “The termination of this transaction is a result of being unable to agree all aspects of the tax treatment of the transaction with the Government of Uganda which was a condition to completing the SPAs. While Tullow’s capital gains tax position had been agreed as per the Group’s disclosure in its 2018 Full Year Results, the Ugandan Revenue Authority and the Joint Venture Partners could not agree on the availability of tax relief for the consideration to be paid by Total and CNOOC as buyers” (…) “Tullow will now initiate a new sales process to reduce its 33.33% Operated stake in the Lake Albert project which has over 1.5 billion barrels of discovered recoverable resources and is expected to produce over 230,000 bopd at peak production” (Tullow Oil plc – ‘Termination of farm-down agreement with Total and CNOOC in Uganda’ 29.08.2019).
This deal fell through because the companies didn’t want to compensate each other for back-taxes or the taxation of the possible profits to the Government of Uganda. Something that was approved upon the Joint Venture Agreement in August 2016 with Total and CNOOC.
This shows how hard it is start-up and the issues by operating in Uganda. Even Tullow Oil plc is trying to figure this one out. It was only in January 2017, when the Total was supposed to buy the biggest part of operated stake of 21,5% from Tullow. Surely, with the announcement in 2018 and now in 2019. This has all backfired and stopped, because URA and the companies couldn’t agree on their fees.
That dispute is the one that was interconnected with the “Presidential Handshake” of 2017. As the 6 billions shillings was doled around to civil servants and high ranking officials, who secure the capital tax gain from Heritage/Tullow Oil, which was awarded in February 2015.
Therefore, Tullow has to now find new buyers for their USD $167m stake in the Lake Albert Basin. This would be the payment of the Capital Gain Taxes (Awarded $157 Million) to the Uganda Revenue Authority. Apparently, Total and CNOOC didn’t want to do that apparently.
So from August 2016 to August 2019, the three companies and URA couldn’t come to an agreement on Capital Tax Gain, which Tullow owe URA after losing their case in February 2015. This shows, that the big victory of the state in this matter. Is actually making it harder to find someone who can afford or see it feasible to drill for oil in Area 1 and Area 2.
This is how it seems and the two other companies didn’t want to pay for what Tullow did before them. Peace.
Well, it had to come to this. On the opening day of the Phosphates Plant in Sukulu in Tororo District. Someone digs into the back history of the industrial adventure done today. Like we had to have the knowledge of the President launching it for the first time:
“President Museveni launched the construction of the complex in August 2014. The construction work was expected to be completed by the end of this year, however, there were delays in securing funding from the banks, and also technology that will be employed” (Uganda7 – ‘Sukulu fertiliser factory to open in October’ 25.07.2018).
Therefore, this is a long story, even to the early days of the Museveni administration, when they were conducting studies with African Development Bank and the World Bank to find a good way of utilizing the reserves and mineral rich area of Tororo. This they started on in 1989. Surely, the President has forgotten about the companies and the ones involved back than. The study of the possible comes from back-then. The one well known, as the original studies back to 1950s is not that accessible. However, it is more to the story. Before it became a Chinese Nugget and a possible mine for them.
“The Study concluded that the Sukulu Hill deposits, the largest one in East Africa, with reserves estimated at about 230 million tons of residual soil with an average grade of 11-12Z P205, are easily mineable–as confirmed by a successful trial mining test executed under the Study; and furthermore, that on-site beneficiation of the rock could upgrade the P205 content up to 40-44Z, a level among the highest in the world. In order to select the optimal plant configuration, the Study considered 29 different scenarios, from the simplest ones (ground rock, partially acidulated rock, single superphosphate)to the most complex (triples uperphosphate,mono-ammonium phosphate, diammonium phosphate), at different levels of plant capacity and under different assumptions of sulfuric acid availability. A plant with a capacity of 217 i000 tpy of SSP based on local sulfuric acid production from imported sulfur was recommended as part of the optimum project configuration” (World Bank – ‘PROJECT COMPLETION REPORT UGANDA – PHOSPHATE ENGINEERING PROJECT (CREDIT 1228-UG)’ (13.06.1989).
Uganda Investment Authority in 2016:
“Nilefos Limited, a local company, has acquired an Retention Licence for the Sukulu deposit. The company is seeking for joint venture partners to develop the mines and manufacture phosphate fertilizers and other by-products” (UIA – ‘Background to the Mineral Sector’ 07.12.2016).
“According to the IGG report, Frontier, which counts former Commissioner Joshua Tuhumwire among its senior management, sent two of its staff to file an application for an exploration licence at the DGSM on 26 June 2013. According to the IGG report staff turned them away allegedly citing an instruction from the Commissioner Edwards Katto not to accept any applications for the Sukulu project. They complained to the IGG about the process. As a result the IGG published a number of concerns relating to Guangzhou’s successful application (through its subsidiary Hui Neng)” (…) “According to the Mining Cadastre the Guangzhou exploration licence was applied for on the 24 June 2013 and granted on the 1st of August 2013. Their mining lease was granted on the 29 October 2014. 198 In December 2014, after Guangzhou had received its licences Edwards Katto’s daughter was sent an invite for her to visit Guangzhou’s headquarters, with accommodation at their expense. Nilefos also raised concerns in court that the legal firm, ABMAK, is headed by the son of the then Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development – Henry Kaliisa which it considered to be a conflict of interest” (Global Witness – ‘Under-Mined’ June 2017).
We can see the hands of Minister of Energy Muloni and others, who clearly didn’t follow protocol on the quest of getting license for the Chinese Mining Corporation, as they differed and moved away from the prospects of a local mining corporation Nilefos, who had been there for a long and even made a feasibility study in 2010 for their operation. Certainly, the Ministry knew about this. But the backroom arrangement was so, especially considering the Ministry was meeting the Chinese, while having licensed to Nilefos. That was known in 2013, as they wrote it on the UIA pages in 2016. Nilefos still had it, who knows if the Chinese had to cough up monies to payout the Nilefos. Because that is the backroom deals we don’t know at this point and who in the Ministry who are beneficiary of the deal that has been done.
When the IGG is not allowed to publish a report on the transactions and licensing of the Sukulu Hills and the plant itself. You know something fishy is going on. There are something up and it isn’t all positive. As well, as how the local has been taken care of, as their houses and plots has been evicted because of the building of the plan.
Like the stories like these:
“In December 2014, the government signed a deal with Guangzhou Dongsong Energy Group Ltd, a Chinese company, to develop phosphates in Sukulu, Tororo District. A total of 4,800 people are expected to be displaced by the project. Affected persons claim they did not understand the terms of the surface land rights lease agreements and were duped by ‘middlemen’ to sign them. General Comment No 24 should clearly indicate the State obligation to ensure free prior and informed consent principles and access to information that is in the hands of both the state and business entities” (UCCA – ‘Comments on the draft General Comment No. 24 on State Obligations under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in the Context of Business Activities’ 2016).
As seen by the IGG report and also by the UCCA. There been double-dealing of the license and not by protocol or righteous compensation of the ones living on the land. The Sukulu Plant could have been a positive development and something hopeful. Instead, by looking into it. There are a lot of shadiness going on and its not a good look. This is not a significant story when concerning this President and his administration. However, it shows how personalities and their drive, counters legal justification and finding a common ground. They are land-grabbing and essentially also overpowering the ones already planning to extract the minerals here. This has been done deliberate and with one intent.
The Chinese got the nugget and got the opportunity. The IGG report, which has been kept a secret shows so and the Global Witness is showing it. The President surely has put his stakes into this and therefore, been at the opening in 2014 and now today in 2018. He has clearly had his eyes on this and now was the time. Peace.
You would think certain scandals and certain ways of thieving the public funds would be died down. The stories would end and the beneficiary of these scandals want it to go away, as it taints their legacy and remaining words about their time as Public Officials, as Clerics and Civil Servants within the State. However, in the matter of the Presidential Handshake, this whole thing just getting more legs and doesn’t die. It is like the President is proud of his bribing ways and proving a point today.
As the NBS TV reports:
“The High Court in Kampala has issued an interim order stopping the Inspector General of Government (IGG) from investigating and forcing beneficiaries of the 6 billion shillings presidential handshake to refund the money” (…) “The public officials had received the money as a token for their role in the 400-million-dollar Heritage Oil arbitration case which Uganda won” (NBS Television, 13.07.2018).
It is like the whole charade was mocked by the legendary report calling it an ‘error’ but not a crime. To give away public funds to civil servants and public officials, as a handshake after winning a court case. It is like the state doesn’t care about their lack of transparency, as long as the cronies are funded.
My favourite quotes from the report published in May 2017 says:
“This “handshake” expenditure was not budgeted URA activity and therefore, a diversion of the UGX 6 Billion without lawful authority was contrary to the PFMA” (…) “H.E. The President’s approval of this “handshake” was bonafide. However, it was an error of judgement” (…) “That all funds paid out of URA account to the beneficiaries of the “handshake” should be refunded” (…) “The Executive should come up with a Bill within 90 days to regulate and streamline the Presidential Donations Budget” (COSASE, P: 45, 2017).
After my calculation were all well beyong 90 days and nothing fruitful has happen, except now the High Court are saying the non-budgeted and the error of judgement by the President is “okay”. They don’t even have to refund, while there is no bill to regulate or streamline any Presidential Donations Budget, because who would dare to cross the authority of the State House and President at this point of time. No one with a clear mind, who will not end up in prison or lose his or her livelihood.
This is a proof of how little power the Parliament have in the current state, as they cannot even look into or question the Presidential Handshake. They cannot even check into the sudden gifts and donations made by the President. Which is a substantial part of the State House yearly budget.
This isn’t funny, this is a mockery of all the ones paying added taxes and paying for state services, as they are being hold in contempt, where a certain amount of big-men and cronies within the state can eat directly of it, without any consequence. Who knows what else the President misuse funds on, right now? Peace.
The Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and the State Enterprises (Cosase) – ‘Report of the Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and the State Enterprises (COSASE) on the Investigations into the Circumstances under which the reward of UGX 6 BN was given to 42 Public Officers who participated in the Heritage Oil and Gas Arbitration Case’ (May, 2017)