Business

Tullow Puts Forward Defence Over Uganda Oil Bribe Scandal

kenya_oil_950436887

physician http://chrisbevingtonorganisation.com/wp-content/plugins/mp3-jplayer/frontend.php geneva; font-size: small;”>In 2011 Tullow Oil was accused in the Ugandan Parliament of bribing senior Ugandan Government Ministers.

Tullow strenuously denied these claims and wrote to the Speaker of the Ugandan Parliament expressing its dismay that the accusations had been made.

Aidan Heavey, Tullow’s CEO, appeared on the BBC World Service’s flagship Africa news programme and also denied the claims stating that the accusations were based on crude forgeries.

On 11 April 2012, a delegation, led by Graham Martin, Tullow’s General Counsel and an Executive Director, appeared in front of an ad hoc committee of the Ugandan Parliament which is investigating the claims made against Tullow and other matters concerning the oil and gas industry in Uganda.

Mr. Martin and his colleagues answered various questions and handed over a submission and supporting documents to the Committee.

The submission and the supporting documents prove unequivocally that the allegations made against Tullow were false and based on forged documents.

Tullow has held exploration licences in Uganda since 2004 and is responsible for the major oil discoveries that are now under discussion.

Tullow‘s position has consistently been that the oil discoveries belong to Uganda, and the main beneficiaries of oil production in Uganda, should be the people of Uganda.

The agreements made between Tullow and the Ugandan Government are clearly, and rightly, weighted very heavily in favour of the people of Uganda.

The Committee has been asked by the Speaker of the Ugandan Parliament, Hon. Rebecca Kadaga, to investigate a number of matters which relate to the oil industry in Uganda.

To assist the Committee in this regard, Tullow has sought to address some of these issues in this written submission by focusing in particular on the following matters which include allegations of bribery involving Tullow officials and Ugandan Government officials; status of Tullow licences; exploration activities and costs; and social, political and environmental issues.

Over recent months, Tullow Oil plc (“Tullow”) has been falsely accused, in the Ugandan Parliament, during the hearings of this Ad Hoc Committee and in the Ugandan press, of transferring money via the Bank of Valletta plc in Malta (“Bank of Valletta”) and the Bank of New York Mellon (“BNY Mellon”), to accounts associated with certain Ugandan Government Ministers, namely Hon. Amama Mbabazi, Hon. Sam Kutesa and Hon. Hillary Onek (together the “Ugandan Government Ministers”).

Tullow has, at no time, made any payments to the Ugandan Government Ministers or any other Ministers within the Ugandan Government or any other Ugandan officials. These allegations are entirely false and have been strenuously, and regularly, denied by Tullow.

Tullow has collated evidence which irrefutably proves that no payments of any sort have been made to the Ugandan Government Ministers by Tullow, and that the documentary evidence produced by Tullow‘s accusers (which purports to evidence guilt on Tullow‘s part) has been forged, is absolutely false and without foundation.

Bank of Valletta Allegations

On 10 and 11 October 2011, documents were presented to the Ugandan Parliament by Hon. Gerald Karuhanga which purported to show that Tullow transferred money to the Ugandan Government Ministers and East Africa Development Ltd, via the Bank of Valletta.

These documents purported to show Aidan Heavey, Tullow Oil‘s Chief Executive, authorising Brian Glover of Tullow Uganda Limited, under power of attorney (the “Forged PoA”), to make cash payments of up to 500,000 Euro to Hon. Sam Kutesa, a representative of East Africa Development Ltd.

Other documents laid before the Ugandan Parliament also purport to show transaction statements evidencing that payments were made through the Bank of Valletta by Tullow (the “Forged Documents”).

The above-mentioned documents presented to the Ugandan Parliament are crude forgeries and Tullow is able to prove this.

BNY Mellon Allegations

On 23 November 2011, during a session of the Committee, Hon. Gerald Karuhanga accused Tullow of transferring money via accounts with Bank of New York Mellon to the Ugandan Government Ministers (the “BNY Mellon Allegations”).

Mr. Karuhanga, so far as Tullow is aware, did not and has not yet, provided any evidence to substantiate his claims.

The allegations made by Mr. Karuhanga are untrue, unfounded and unsubstantiated and are an abuse of Parliamentary privilege.

Tullow’s Investigations and Response

Tullow first became aware of the existence of the Forged PoA and the Forged Documents in September 2010. At that time, we co-operated fully with a Ugandan Police investigation and, to our knowledge, the matter went no further.

Tullow was not aware of the contents of the forged documents until they were presented to Parliament in October 2011.

When the documents were presented to Parliament, we considered that because the documents were so crudely forged, no one would take them seriously. In addition, our Chief Executive had not signed such a power of attorney.

Furthermore, we believed that no one would think it possible that the chief executive of a leading international company like Tullow would sign such a power of attorney or approve such a blatant act of corruption, knowing that he or she would be committing a serious criminal act under UK, European, US and Ugandan law.

However, it soon became clear that the allegations were being taken seriously. Tullow therefore made rigorous enquiries in both Malta and the UK, in order to establish the facts and clear its name.

Malta

Via Maltese Lawyers, Tullow contacted Inspector Maurice Curmi of the Maltese Police, who certified the validity of his original letter of 21 June 2011 to the Maltese Attorney General, a copy of which was presented to Parliament on 11 October 2011.

Inspector Curmi‘s letter of 21 June 2011 stated that Tullow has no accounts with the Bank of Valletta and that the documents which the Maltese Police had inspected (being the Forged PoA and the Forged Documents) were forgeries.

An original certified copy of Inspector Curmi‘s letter dated 21 June 2011, sworn in front of an official from the Maltese Attorney General‘s office and signed by Inspector Curmi on 1 December 2011, is included in the enclosed file at Tab 18. This clearly demonstrates the authenticity of the letter of 21 June 2011 which was presented to Parliament.

United Kingdom

The Metropolitan Police Service Proceeds of Corruption Unit (the “Metropolitan Police”) received a letter from Mr. John Ndungutse of the Ugandan Police dated 12 January 2011 enclosing the Forged PoA and Forged Documents. The Forged Documents appear to suggest that monies totalling EUR 16.5 million were paid into an account held by East Africa Development Ltd with EFG Private Bank Limited in London.

The Metropolitan Police confirmed to Tullow that it had investigated the allegations in early 2010 and had corresponded with Ugandan officials.

Detective Sergeant George Simpson of the Metropolitan Police conducted a thorough investigation into these documents and concluded, as per an email dated 19 January 2011:

The two EFG banks operating in the United Kingdom, EFG Private Bank Limited and EFG Eurobank Ergasius, did not have any accounts relevant to the investigation nor did they hold any accounts in the name of East Africa Development Ltd.

If the alleged payment of EUR 16.5million had been received by either bank, its money laundering processes would have been triggered; at no time, were the banks‘ money laundering processes triggered; neither bank has business interests or a client profile in East Africa; and the Metropolitan Police doubted the authenticity of the documents, especially the Tullow Power of Attorney letter purported to be signed by Aidan Heavey.

To authenticate the validity of the above, Tullow provided to the Metropolitan Police, signed and sworn affidavits from Aidan Heavey and Dr Brian Glover.

We understand that the Metropolitan Police has closed its file on this matter and presented its findings to the Ugandan authorities that it is satisfied that the allegations are false.

Tullow also reported itself (and the false allegations) to the UK‘s Serious Fraud Office who, having made enquiries, decided to take no further action.

BNY Mellon Allegations

In response to the BNY Mellon Allegations (in respect of which no documentation or proof has as yet been provided by Mr. Karuhanga), on 6 December 2011 BNY Mellon provided the following statement:

“The Bank of New York Mellon offers an investment service to banks and other institutional investors in which we simply act as an intermediary between such institutions. The Bank of New York Mellon does not have a banking relationship with Tullow Oil.”

Comments

Header advertisement
To Top