July 18, 2013

Oil Probe Committee Yet To Produce Report

Almost two years after parliament instituted an adhoc committee to investigate top government officials accused of pocketing bribes from oil companies, the committee is yet to report back its findings.

Western Youth MP Gerald Karuhanga  tabled the documents implicating the Ministers
Western Youth MP Gerald Karuhanga tabled the documents implicating the Ministers

Late in 2011, Gerald Karuhanga, the Western Youth MP tabled documents in parliament implicating three top ministers including Amama Mbabazi, the prime minister of pocketing bribes from oil companies. Others are Hilary Onek, the Disaster preparedness and Refugees minister and Foreign Affairs minister Sam Kuteesa.

As a result, parliament passed a resolution to set up an adhoc committee to investigate the allegations following heated debates on 10th and 11th October 2011.

The adhoc committee chaired by Michael Werikhe, the Bungokho South MP was mandated to investigate the allegations and report back to parliament within three months.

Former Interior Minister and now Disaster Preparedness  Minister Hilary Onek was implicated
Former Interior Minister and now Disaster Preparedness Minister Hilary Onek was implicated

In April 2012, Werikhe told local media then that the committee had covered 90 percent of the work and was scheduled to travel abroad to verify some of the documents tabled before parliament. However, the adhoc committee is yet to present its finding to parliament. On Wednesday, Werikhe said that the report was still in draft form.

Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi was also implicated
Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi was also implicated

A member of his committee intimated revealed that the report has been in draft form since November last year and that the committee has not added any new information to it. But Werikhe says the subject is very sensitive and cannot be rushed. He says the committee was taking time to work on all the required details as per the terms of reference given to them by the house. He says they will finalize the report as soon as the committee members find time to meet and put final touches on the final piece.

However, an MP who spoke on condition of anonymity so as to express himself freely on the matter said they are afraid that the committee could have been compromised otherwise it wouldn’t take 21 months to complete work on a matter of such urgency and importance.

Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Kuteesa was also accused of taking bribes
Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Kuteesa was also accused of taking bribes

He said the report might even be irrelevant by the time it is presented because exploration contracts have already been awarded and that the accused ministers are still entrusted with important government duties.

Rebecca Kadaga, the speaker of parliament is mounting pressure on the committee to present its report before parliament.

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