Tullow Oil Uganda yesterday blamed its sub-contractor, Saracen Uganda Limited, after the company was again thrust into the spotlight for allegedly dumping two trucks of human waste in Kakindo village in Buliisa District, western Uganda.
Tullow Oil corporate affairs manager Cathy Adengo said although the company regrets the incident, Tullow was clearly not responsible for the incident that has drawn the wrath of area residents and Members of Parliament.
“Our contractor Saracen Uganda Limited have taken responsibility of their actions and have addressed the matter... cleaned up the area, engaged with the district officials and apologised to the community,” she said. “Of course this is highly regrettable and all the necessary steps shall be taken to ensure this situation never happens again in future.”
Villagers of Kakindo cell in Buliisa said, during a meeting with members of the Parliamentary Forum on Oil and Gas on Saturday that Tullow dumped waste in the villages, causing discomfort for a number of days.
“Waste products of human beings were taken and deposited just within the community near Kasemene (Oil Well) three and that was very dangerous to us and it caused us diseases,” Mr Henry Tumwesige, the general secretary of Kakindo Cell LCI told the meeting. “Tullow should compensate us for the problems we went through.”
Another villager whose name couldn’t be got because he shouted from the crowd added: “This village was buried in a very strong bad smell and some of us fell sick.” “We want compensation for the inconvenience we suffered,” he added.
Tullow Oil’s Environmental Field superintendent Karl Schwarz said he conducted an investigation to ascertain the extent of the effects caused, after the matter came to its notice.
“We did a clean up and we involved the community in doing the sampling of the soils around the site where the waste was dumped,” he said. “The waste was got and taken to an independent laboratory in Kampala and we are under obligation to share the report with the community.”
Saracen managing director Bill Belser yesterday also exonerated Tullow Oil, but blamed another local sub-contractor, whom he said tried to take a short cut. “We used a local contractor, Luma Peter and Sons Limited and we have always used them and they always moved the stuff to the correct dumping site in Kampala but this time they took a short cut,” he said. He further said that Saracen spent close to $5,000 (about Shs13 million) to clean up the mess and “the place is now ready for use.”
This is not the first time Tullow is being accused of dumping waste in all wrong places.
The oil company has severally been put on the spot for dumping toxic drilling waste in the game park and in areas occupied by people. On all the occasions, Ms Adengo consistently denied the accusations saying Tullow follows “NEMA regulation and doesn’t dump waste in the park”.