By Mirembe Martina
Tullow Oil has apologized for the President Museveni bribery claim.
The company apologized through a letter written Wednesday, 20th march to President Museveni by the founder and chief executive of Tullow Oil, Aidan Heavey. In the letter, Mr. Heavey stated he was ‘deeply disturbed’ by the way the president had been affected by an ‘entirely false innuendo, allegations and reporting’.
The allegations were first made by Kwahar Quereshi, an attorney for Heritage Oil Company. At the time, the company was fighting off a law suit against it by Tullow Oil over part of the $404 million capital gains tax imposed by Uganda government the latter paid. The allegations were made in a London court that one of the firm’s directors paid $50 million to President Museveni in a bribe.
The tax claim, disputed by Heritage, comes after Tullow’s 2010 buy-out of that company’s stake in Uganda’s oilfields for $1.45 billion. Hearing of the case started March 12, and is expected to end next week.
Mr. Quereshi, while cross-examining Tullow witnesses indicated that the Exploration Director of Tullow, Angus McCoss suggested in August 2010 that an undocumented $50 million payment be made to “meet the short-term needs and demands” of President Museveni.
Mr. McCoss apparently referred to the President in a group email as M7, and proposed in the alternative that Tullow considers financing his re-election campaign. “These allegations are entirely false,” Mr Heavey wrote in his reply to President Museveni. “At no time did Angus McCoss or any other Tullow employee suggest making payments to Your Excellency either to satisfy any short-term needs or demands…”
After the allegations hit the web, President Museveni on Tuesday asked Tullow to explain how an idea to pay him off was considered internally by the oil firm’s executives as alleged. He gave te company up until Thursday to identify the person who lobbied; to prove whether payment was effected and who received it in his name.
Tullow denied it ever toyed with the idea, blaming rival Heritage for the present situation.