Today, the Government of Tanzania have together with the Government of Uganda signed off to a Host Government Agreement (HGA), also together with Total, the supposed builder of the East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP).
Today, all the years of waiting, stalling and finding measures of taxes pays-off. We can still wonder what is basic fee structure and what is the price of taxation of the extraction of oil exploitation in the Lake Albertine basin. In the same regard, we can wonder is the specific route for the pipeline and what consequences it will have to nature, reserves and national parks. Because, the drill itself is just in the near proximity of Murchinson Fall National Park. Before it will continue or pass through other untouched areas of both Uganda and Tanzania.
There is still not answers or openness about the deals in the regards to the Uganda National Oil Company (UNOC) and the Tanzania National Oil Company (TNOC), in combination to the ownership and licences of China National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC) and Total. Therefore, there are plenty of stakeholders and everyone wants to profit on the resources.
With both Republics signing of the HGA agreement and preparing for the Final Investment Decision (FID). The building of the pipeline and the industry can start off. This has also been stopped by taxation and the questionable acquisitions of exploitation licences in Lake Albert. Therefore, the whole Heritage and Tullow taxation case and the costs it had for Total to pay off that. Is still not shown to the public or if the Government of Uganda has forgiven the past company to give way. While Tullow surely wanted profits for their time and the valuable licences they had gotten rights too in earlier rounds.
What is also worrying to me? Well, the deals are not public. The agreements between the Corporations and the Republics are practically unknown and only mere fragments is out. Just like the power-sharing of 60% to Tanzania and 40% to Uganda. Is still not saying much, considering this will be still carved up by Total and CNOOC too, also some sort of deal with UNOC and TNOC. These will not operate on charity, but as a benefactor of the Republic itself.
The public should know this, because it is public resources, state resources and oil exploitation on public land. The companies are using licences and also the same licenses to transport the crude oil in the pipeline from Lake Albert to Port Tanga. Therefore, it is needed to get this knowledge to show the price, the agreements and the possible perks. Because, we don’t if they even have strings or not.
We should wonder why its confidential and kept a secret. The companies should also be displeased, unless they like to exploit without any transparency. Because, these deals and arrangements haven’t been made transparent or with accountability. It has been done in the chambers of Entebbe and in Tanzania. The general public will only see a fraction and not know the full extent.
That is a deliberate action by Presidents and their handlers. The UNOC, TNOC, Total and CNOOC can operate without to much scrutiny and just enjoy the cheers. There is a need to know, but don’t expect it. Since, the GoU and GoT haven’t delivered this in past, neither has the GoU showed anything from the previous deals with Heritage/Tullow. Why should they suddenly change of heart?
I don’t think so… unless there is a sudden miracle. If not … if there is a shady deal and one company feels used and will take it to an international court. Then, we will see some evidence of what went down. However, until then… we only know the bits and pieces. 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)