Earlier this month the The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Micheál Martin, T.D, visited the Country of Uganda in east Africa.
While there he made a commitment under the Irish Aid Programme to spend in Uganda some €166 Million of Irish Taxpayers money over the next five years to be used on projects in that State for both public and perhaps private benefit.
At the start of the visit, Minister Martin stated:
"I want to visit Uganda and Ethiopia to see the impact on the lives of the people of both countries of the Government’s aid programme. Ireland has a strong commitment to providing strategic assistance to both countries, working in partnership to make a real impact on the fight against poverty and hunger. Our assistance to Uganda and Ethiopia ensures that some of the poorest communities in Africa have access to better nutrition and healthcare, that the scourge of HIV and AIDS is being tackled effectively and that children have a chance to get a decent education.
In addition to meeting local political figures, I look forward to seeing first-hand the magnificent work of Irish missionaries and NGOs. I also want to explore the opportunities to develop closer trade links between Ireland and Africa. I look forward to meeting Irish business people who are working with African partners in both Uganda and Ehtiopia to develop new businesses which can provide jobs and trading opportunities to help lift people in Africa out of poverty."
Irish Aid - Homepage -
This visit raises a number of important moral and perhaps legal questions.
For a start why are we, when to all intents and purposes we are 'Bust' committing this huge sum of money to a country thouands of miles away and which most people in Ireland have no links with?
We are supposed to be helping them because they are so poor - to help lift people in Africa out of poverty in the Minister's own words
- yet Uganda has in the last few months signed a deal with Russia to buy six of the most advanced attack bombers in the world at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars.
Our own Air Corps could not even afford one of these right now - let alone half a dozen!
The next point is perhaps more serious.
Coincidently or not within days of Minister Martin making this visit Tullow Oil signed a lucrative deal that will allow them to complete the acquisition of Heritage Oil's assets in its Ugandan project
- The deal was subject to approval from the Ugandan government.
This is to say the least of it a most fortunate set of circumstances for Tullow Oil
- that an Irish Minister arrives in town, signs a deals worth millions to some Ugandans and within days Tullow Oil gets a Ugandan Government Minister's signature on a deal they had been chasing for months.
There must have been a huge sigh of relief in some quarters that rival bids were seen off at the last moment given the interest Uganda's potential in the Oil Industry is having in boardrooms around the World.
Given that Minister Martin did meet with representatives of Tullow Oil while he was in Kampala what was discussed at those meetings
- and what if any is the link between that Company and the Minister himself or any other senior members of his Party Fianna Fail?
There would seem to be some very murky dealings going on out there right now as the vultures, both internal and external, gather to work on the pickings of what promises to be a very lucrative business for many years to come with Uganda likely to be the new Nigeria in Africa's Oil Business.
At least some Ugandans will get some benefits (40 million for new Schools - while our own kids will go short in the next budget!)
- but where is the gain for the Irish people in this huge outlay of their own money?
It would appear that the real winners here are some very well paid executives and their shareholders in the Oil Industry!
- & perhaps some people involved in Irish Politics too?
There are questions to be answered here but the silence so far from the Irish Media has been deafening.
Now, just when it seemed that all that remained was for the government to dot the i’s and cross the t’s on the sale of Heritage’s assets to Tullow, there is talk among industry insiders that Eni is back in the picture, threatening to torpedo Tullow’s purchase. Certain actors have appeared to again favour Eni, calling the government’s approval of Tullow’s deal into question.
Monday, 05 July
Oil companies punch hole in secrecy over agreements
Tullow Oil has completed the acquisition of Heritage Oil's assets in its Ugandan project.
The deal was subject to approval from the Ugandan government. Conditional approval was granted on July 6th.http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/...breaking6.html
KAMPALA, June 30 (Xinhua) -- The Ugandan and Irish governments on Wednesday signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in which Ireland will offer aid worth 166 million Euros over the next five years to the East African country.
Syda Bbumba, Uganda's finance minister and the visiting Irish foreign minister Micheal Martin signed the MOU here at the ministry of finance headquarters.
Russia's state arms exporter Rosoboronexport has signed two contracts worth $1.2 billion on the deliveries of 16 jet fighters to Algeria and another six fighters to Uganda, the Russian Vedomosti daily reported on Monday.
The two African nations will receive different models of the Su-30 Flanker fighters. Algiers will receive 16 Su-30-MKI(A)s and Kampala will receive six Su-30MK2s, the paper said.
Russia signs $1.2 bln contract for jet fighter delivery to Algeria, Uganda | Russia | RIA Novosti
Tullow Uganda will enter into a Sale and Purchase Agreement (SPA) with Heritage Oil & Gas, a subsidiary of Heritage Oil plc. The deal is likely to be the biggest single transaction in Uganda’s emerging petroleum history...
It is understood that completion of the SPA is subject to certain conditions which include approval by Heritage shareholders at a meeting scheduled for January 25 and receipt of necessary consents from the government.
January 18 2010
Daily Monitor: - National|Tullow now offers to buy Heritage
Martin also met representatives from Uganda's private sector which is also being supported by Irish Aid and with representatives of Tullow Oil which is currently exploring for oil in the country.
6 July 2010
allAfrica.com: Uganda: Irish Gives 166 Million Euros in Aid
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