OIL Company, Tullow Oil plc. has written to President Yoweri MUseveni, expressing regret over the "entirely false allegations" that it considered paying him US$50m (about sh130b) to meet his short term needs and demands.
In his letter to the President dated March 20, 2013, Tullow Chief Executive Officer and Founder, Aidan J. Heavey, said that the company has become a victim of "groundless mudslinging" as a result of its success.
Heavey's letter was in reply to a letter written to him this week, by President Museveni's lawyers asking him to explain reports that the company considered paying the President sh130b to meet his short term needs and demands. Museveni gave the company three days to explain the damaging media reports.
But Tullow's reply came in just a day. "I am deeply disturbed that Your Excellency has been impacted by the entirely false innuendo, allegations and reporting that has been generated in relation to this matter (court case)," Heavey said.
When the Tullow witnesses appeared in court in the case the company filed against Heritage to recover US$313m that it paid in capital gains tax, the witnesses were subjected to cross-examination by the Heritage counsel, he explained.
"That cross-examination has, unfortunately, resulted in selective, partial and out of context reporting of the court and consequently the unfounded allegations by the Monitor newspaper," he added.
"These allegations are entirely false and indeed have been refuted by Tullow in open court," he affirmed.
"At no time did Angus McCross or any other Tullow employee suggest making payments to Your Excellency either to satisfy or short term needs or demands or for any other reason," Heavey said, explain that the only payment his company made to the Government "have been through the proper authorities."
He argued that Heritage was happy with the "efforts by the press to smear Tullow's reputation in front of the court and the public" as it lacks substantive legal arguments to refuse paying the taxes to the Uganda Revenue Authority.
Heavey assured the President that once the case is over next week, they will "take all necessary action to clarify the facts to the public and seek redress from those who have damaged Tullow's reputation through publication of these false statements."
He said that in 27 years he has been Tullow CEO, the company has not had any corruption allegations and that "these kinds of allegations seem to arise only when we do business with Heritage."
On his part, the Tullow Uganda general manager Jimmy Mugerwa, also issued a statement in Kampala re-affirming Heavey's communication.
"The embarrassment caused to His Excellency the President of Uganda and the people of Uganda by these false allegations and reports are deeply regretted by Tullow," Mugerwa said.
"At no time has His Excellency ever suggested that Tullow should make such payments and any allegation to the contrary is false and deeply insulting," he asserted.
"No Tullow director or employee has ever suggested or considered making payments to any political party in Uganda. No Tullow director or employee has ever directed that any payments be made in Uganda other than those made to the proper authorities in the course of our normal business," Mugerwa said.