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Govt sued to disclose oil deals
afrol News, 5 January - A Ugandan Non Governmental Organisation has filed a suit against the government to force it to divulge information in connection with several international oil company deals.
Greenwatch, an organisation advocating for the proper use, management and protection of the environment, said the government should come clean and avail the copies of agreements it signed with four oil companies currently operating in Uganda.
Greenwatch which filed its application in the High Court on 22 December claims it had not obtained adequate information and documentation from the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA).
It argues that since the agreements are public documents, the Government should not keep them secret from the people of Uganda, who it says are entitled to access them as beneficiaries.
The organisation’s lawyer, Kenneth Kakuru, said Uganda’s constitution entitles all citizens a right to information within the possession of the state and it can only be legally withheld where disclosure jeopardises national security or compromises individual privacy.
Greenwatch has been conducting research on the impact of petroleum activities in Uganda since 2008. However, vital information about production sharing agreements was not disclosed.
NGO’s national coordinator, Irene Ssekyana, accuses the Permanent Secretary of the energy ministry of giving her a blank model agreement instead of the signed agreements.
“Because of the Government’s attitude of secrecy, the NGO says, it has not been able to conclude its research and publish its findings and recommendations to the public,” she said.
In December, the Ugandan national assembly asked the minister of energy and minerals development to disclose the details of the deals. However, the minister declined, saying that the government would need to first consult with the attorney-general and the oil-exploration companies.
By staff writer
© afrol News
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