Four legislators have raised a red flag over the proposed payment of US $ I.5m (about 3.5 billion shillings) to Taylor-De Jongh, a UK based advisory firm to provide consultancy services for the construction of an Oil refinery.
They are Theodore Sekikubo, Abdu Katuntu, Wilfred Nuwagaba and Barnabas Tinkasiimire. The MPs argue that Taylor-De Jongh was procured in disregard of the law by selected Energy Ministry officials under the influence of President Yoweri Museveni.
They also questioned how two firms were shortlisted as the final bidders for the construction of the refinery.
The short listed firms are South Korea’s SK Energy Company and Russia’s RT-Global Resources.
Sekikubo said President Museveni has deliberately taken long to constitute a National Oil Company and a Petroleum Management Authority to allow him force through shoddy oil transactions.
The two bodies are provided for under the Petroleum (Exploration Development and Production) Act to oversee oil activities.
However, they are yet to be constituted due to disagreements between the Executive and Parliament. Sekikubo says that, according to the proposed deal Russia’s RT-Global Resources will supply arms to Uganda People’s Defense Forces in exchange for the deal.
Sekikubo says it is the duty of the President to go around shopping for consultants even for other projects that are outside the Oil business.
He says they are on alert, adding that if this goes unchecked, Ugandans shall come out with nothing from Oil sector.
Sekikubo says they are considering petitioning the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga’s attention when the house resumes next month demanding an explanation from government on the goings on in the Oil sector.
Rosa Whitaker, the former Assistant US Trade Representative for Africa, has once again been mentioned in this deal. She is said to have introduced South Korea’s SK Energy Company to the President on grounds that it would secure funding from China’s Exim Bank.
Abdu Katuntu, the Bugweri MP said Whitaker’s involvement in the dubious transactions will be brought to the attention of the US government.
Whitaker’s name was mentioned several times in the controversial manner in which China Harbor Engineering Corporation (CHEC) won the shillings 22 trillion deal to construct the standard gauge railway line.
Katuntu says they intend to take a step further to make sure that Whitaker is brought to book or else they expose her.
Wilfred Nuwagaba said that the President has made himself a procuring entity and failed to establish the Petroleum Authority and National Oil Company.