Thursday April 19 2012

Police chief clears Tullow of bribery claims

By Isaac Imaka

Kampala

The Inspector General of Police has told Parliament that the alleged accounts said to have been used by Tullow Oil and ministers named in the oil bribery saga do not exist.While briefing the parliamentary ad hoc committee investigating the oil sector, the police boss, Maj. Gen. Kale Kayihura, said the transactions, claimed by Western Youth MP Gerald Karuhanga were never made.

“Our preliminary findings confirmed that the alleged transactions mentioned in the source documents were never made and that the alleged accounts of Tullow Oil PLC in the Bank of Valleta, Malta, East Africa Development Limited (EADL) and EFG Eurobank, Ergasius, London, UK do not exist,” Gen. Kayihura said.

However, he said police have not been able to conclusively establish whether the alleged bank account no. 00344500727007 (EUR) of Mr Hilary Onek (Internal affairs), at the Emirates Bank in Dubai, EAE exists or not.

“The committee will recall that the UAE authorities had demanded that we re-submit our request for information and also fulfill certain technical procedures which we have done before they could release the information. So far we have not received any response from the authorities in Dubai,” he said.

Police claim that they have neither established any link between the EADL and Mr Sam Kutesa (foreign affairs) nor got any evidence of transactions between EADL and Bank of Valleta.

But responding to Gen. Kayihura’s submissions, Dokolo Woman MP Cecilia Ogwal questioned the intention of a letter by Tullow Oil’s executive director Tim O’Hanlon, saying it was a confirmation of the bribery and to protect the accused ministers. “Mr O’Hanlon recognises in the letter that the allegations (by Wikileaks) are authentic and show that they will work with the two ministers to help them clean their name,” Ms Ogwal said.

‘Evidence’
She based her argument on the first and last paragraphs of the December 10, 2010 letter where the Tullow chief told the President that: “No doubt you have been made aware of the illegal theft of confidential communications from various US embassies around the world, including that of Kampala...”

“I can assure Your Excellency that we will continue to monitor these matters closely and will work in any way we can with the two ministers involved to help clear their names,” the letter further reads.

But in the same letter, Mr O’Hanlon said: “I have never made such a claim to the US ambassador but merely discussed with him at our meeting in December 2009 the detailed stories published in the previous week’s local press,”
Gen. Kayihura said he was not aware of the letter and promised to read it for further investigations.

On Dubai’s refusal to corporate with the Uganda Police, Ms Ogwal said it was a sign of political interference as the cause of Dubai’s refusal to corporate. However, although the Dubai Police has consistently refused to corporate with the Ugandan police, Mr John Nduguste, the lead investigator, said he has not lost hope.

“We have not lost hope in Dubai. I am supposed to go back to Dubai and check the current situation because we cleared the technicalities that were required from us,” he said.

iimaka@ug.nationmedia.com

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