* Accusations stem from documents presented to house by
* Tullow says has proof that documents were forged
By Jocelyn Edwards
KAMPALA, April 12 British oil firm Tullow Oil
has refuted accusations that it was involved in bribing
government officials in Uganda, where it has discovered
commercial oil deposits and is expected to go into small-scale
production later in the year.
In October, the Ugandan parliament established a committee
to probe reports that three ministers took bribes from
transactions in the country's nascent oil sector.
Last year, Ugandan lawmaker Gerald Karuhanga presented
documents to parliament accusing Tullow of making payments to
Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi, Minister of Foreign Affairs Sam
Kutesa and Minister of Internal Affairs Hilary Onek.
On Wednesday, a Tullow delegation led by its General Counsel
and Executive Director Graham Martin told the committee set up
to investigate the charges of corruption that it was innocent of
the accusations and that Karuhanga's documents were forged.
"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," it said in its presentation to the committee.
"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 ... has been forged, is absolutely false
and without foundation."
In February, Tullow Oil closed a long-awaited $2.9 billion
deal to bring in French oil major Total and Chinese
group CNOOC as partners to develop its oil fields,
paving the way for commercial oil production to start in the
Tullow has said that it expects small-scale oil and gas
production in Uganda later this year, where it says it has found
1.1 billion confirmed barrels of oil and believes there are 1.4
billion left to find. Large scale production is expected to
commence in 2016.