Lawyer Male Mabirizi has ran to court to force government reveal the details of the East African oil pipeline agreement that the Uganda and Tanzanian government signed with oil companies.
Uganda, Tanzania and the two oil companies of Total E&P, and China’s CNOOC last month signed the East African Crude Oil Pipeline deal that included the Tariff and Transportation Agreement (TTA) between the pipeline company and the shippers of the crude oil through the pipeline.
The two government and oil firms also signed the Host Government Agreement for the Republic of Uganda and the shareholding Agreement (SHA) for shareholders to the EACOP Company.
However, in his suit against the Ugandan Attorney General, Mabirizi says it was wrong and illegal for the Ministry of Energy Permanent Secretary to refuse to heed to his request to have access to the pipeline agreement under the Access to Information Act.
“The applicant wants a declaration that the Permanent Secretary , Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development illegally or wrongly ignored the applicant’s request for access to the Host Government Agreement for the pipeline, Tariff and Transportation Agreement and Shareholding Agreement in respect of the planned East African Crude Oil Pipeline,” the documents before the Chief Magistrates court in Mengo read in part.
The lawyer who says he is a Ugandan citizen , lawyer by profession and civically active person wants court to direct the Permanent Secretary to avail the agreement but also stop him from ever concealing the same information .
He says the information requested for is liable to mandatory disclosure in public interest and to enable him institute criminal proceedings.
“It is in the interest of promoting administrative fairness, efficiency, transparency and accountability among leaders, public officers and statutory bodies that this application is granted,”Mabirizi says.
He wants court to award him general, exemplary and aggravated damages on top of costs for the suit after the Permanent Secretary earlier refused to reveal the details of the agreement.
The East African Crude Oil Pipeline is a 1,445-kilometer-long pipeline from the oil wells in western Uganda in Hoima district to Tanzania’s seaport of Tanga.
The pipeline will cover 296km in Uganda passing through Hoima, Kyankwanzi, Mubende, Gomba, Kyotera, Lwengo, Ssembabule, Rakai, and Kikuube and 1443km in Tanzania through the regions of Kagera, Gieta, Shinyanga, Tabora, Singida, Dodoma, Manyara, and Tanga.
The $3.5 billion oil pipeline project is the longest electrically heated pipeline in the world and it is heated because Uganda’s oil is waxy.
Shareholders in the East African Oil Pipeline(EACOP) include the Uganda National Oil Company (UNOC)on behalf of the Ugandan government, the Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC), Total E&P, and CNOOC.
With French company French Total E&P owning a majority stake of 72% in the pipeline, Uganda has 15% whereas CNOOC has 8% and Tanzania has 5%.