Tagged: dausy Lah
January 17, 2009 at 1:54 pm #19002MubiruParticipant
Museveni, Saleh’s criminal oil, mineral deals in Uganda
By an independent analyst
A few years ago I had a rare glimpse into the dirt that was gaining momentum in Uganda. I had a chance to look into the rush for Uganda’s natural resource wealth.
I’m yet to disclose the entire saga because I’m still piecing together some information. But I would love if Radio Katwe looked into some of this information and provide us a little bit of glimpse into the natural-resource slavery scenario we facing as a nation.
The gold prospecting in Karamoja in the 1990s was being carried out by a company called Branch Energy. Its MD in Uganda was a certain Brian Westwood, a South African.
Branch Energy was owned 40% by General Salim Saleh, the brother of General Yoseri Tuhaburwa aka Yoweri Museveni.
During its tenure in the prospecting of gold in Kaabong, Branch Energy employed a chief geologist who by default happened to be the young brother of Henry Kajura, then minister in-charge of natural resources.
In their camp in Kaabong where Branch Energy invested close to $40m, (at least according to Mr. Westwood), the group set up an airfield that had little control by the Ugandan aviation authorities.
They also set up a state of the art laboratory that information I pieced together indicated had ability to handle simple purification procedures for gold.
In late 1990s Westwood said that they would be pulling out of Kaabong because there had been no substantial amount of gold discovered fitting for full exploitation. He also indicated that the machinery (worth over $20m) would remain with the Ugandan government!
My first question then was: Here are prospectors who discover no minerals worth exploiting; who’ve invested a massive amount of money into the project; pull out having apparently gained nothing but are willing to give all their machinery to the Ugandan government? Are they donors or just business goons?
Then more revelations occurred: There were reports of secret flights direct from the Branch Energy airfield in Kaabong to Nairobi’s Wilson Airport. These flights, according to my informants had secret cargo originating from the Branch Energy laboratory inside their camp. These flights ran all through the time of prospecting.
As I pieced my investigation together, I learnt that actually Brian Westwood is a former Colonel in South African forces under the Apartheid regime. And more importantly to this piece, Brian Westwood is a serving officer in Executive Outcomes, that mercenary outfit that has been involved in a series of violent military activities in Africa.
And that is not all, as it begins to sound like some work of fiction; the secret flights from the Kaabong airstrip enjoyed special status from both the government of Uganda and Kenya. This was courtesy of protection from the Moi family in Kenya and Museveni’s in Uganda.
The link is that within these families are leading Executive Outcome’s shareholders. In Uganda Salim Saleh, aka Caleb Akandanwaho, is its senior representative while in Kenya, Moi’s son, Raymond Moi, is the representative.
So while the flights took their secret cargo from Kaabong it was received by Raymond’s handlers in Nairobi where it found its way to the international market.
And that explained the reason why it would have been possible for Branch Energy to offer its machinery to the ‘Ugandan government’. All through the exercise the fellows were making money without paying any taxes. It was robbery of our resources!
And while at Branch Energy and gold prospecting, I also found intriguing the existence of its connection to as far away as Mrs. Linda Chalker. I guess some of you will recall the near air crash this abrasive lady with her host Museveni encountered while heading to Karamoja in 1994. The plane was piloted by a one Capt. Mike Mukula.
A few years later Mukula rises in the Ugandan political hierarchy.
It also brought to mind the Abayitababiri air crash that killed Henry Kajura’s bright and beautiful daughter Jean Kajura. The destination was again the gold fields of Karamoja.
The intention of this piece is not to provide details because these linkages form units of my research into the chaos that has rained bloodshed in this region. I will therefore provide titbits to jerk up your mind, and if RK finds it interesting they can one day do their masterpiece as always. I have full respect and trust in their ability to do this.
So exit Branch Energy and enter Heritage Oil and Gas. And the story is being replayed: Heritage Oil and Gas’ boss in Uganda is none other than the one and only, Col. Brian Westwood!
And the next stop is to prospect Uganda’s oil prospects. Already the ‘seismic’ studies indicate good oil prospects. But again, we already knew this. As early as Obote’s first government, Uganda with the help of the Indian government did a detailed study of the resource levels in Uganda. While discussing this with the late President Obote at his exile house in Lusaka, he affirmed that indeed oil presence was discovered then.
And I guess it is not surprising that Museveni is actively involved in this prospecting. During that study of the 60s, a certain young man then ‘simply a destitute Tutsi refugee’ (description given by Dr. Obote in Lusaka then) was employed as a research assistant in the office of the president. This young man may have, in the course of his duties, gotten access to the detailed information regarding this study. Years later that young man rises to the helm of Ugandan political power. It appears however, that this young man never at any time did forget of that wealth.
And lets get back to our EO: According to information both Branch Energy and Heritage Oil and Gas are subsidiaries of Executive Outcomes said to be largely owned by Tony Buckingham, that sly UK millionaire. I’m currently working on the rumour that Tullow, another company involved in helping poor Ugandans get ‘rich’ from their oil, is also owned by Executive Outcomes. Any help on this investigation will be appreciated.
But more interesting; Salim Saleh is a major shareholder in Heritage Oil and Gas Uganda, and of course by link – you know who else.
And let’s build the Web further:
Does Saracen ring a bell? Its that well armed private security group.
Just peeping into Saracen you’ll discover that in Uganda its key shareholder is Salim Saleh. Brian Westwood is another of its shareholders. But it goes beyond that, Internationally Saracen is known as a security group belonging to Executive Outcomes.
As Museveni and ilk went on an orgy of raping D.R. Congo, Saracen was a crucial player; recruiting, training and arming Congolese rebels. They were also the unit that trained Congolese child-soldiers for Jean-Pierre Bemba now on trial by the ICC in The Hague. It has continued with its activities. Last year it is the group based in an island on Lake Mobutu (Albert) that had a clash with Congolese troops.
Saracen is the main supplier of fuel that adds fuel to the Congolese crisis and is currently involved in the supply of military wares to ‘General’ Laurent Nkunda.
I’ll leave the reader to connect the gaps, i.e. Heritage Oil and Gas and Saracen’s activities in the western borders of Uganda.
And as you try to make linkages, lets stroll down memory lane and see if we can remember when in late 90s a Ugandan paper reported that then President Daniel arap Moi was set to buy the then Uganda Commercial Bank [UCB]. Later this news died out as the saga of Salim Saleh’s ‘botched’ purchase overtook that information.
What was not known to the media was that it wasn’t Moi the president who was involved in the UCB deal; it was Raymond Moi the son. And it wasn’t an individual’s deal, it involved Westmont, a Malaysian registered company that in reality belongs to Executive Outcomes.
So even as the news of Moi died out it emerged that Westmont was attempting to purchase UCB as a front for Saleh. Of course the blowing of the whistle halted the crooks but never stopped for ever their schemes. Later they successfully did steal UCB.
The story about the ruthless and rogue robbery of resources of the Great Lakes region is not just heart rending; the intrigue involved is so scary and real bloody. I won’t be surprised if we are already serfs in our own country. By the time ruthless reality awakens us from our deep slumber it may be too late to recover. The repercussion will reverberate for generations.
And it is not just Uganda; it cuts across the Great Lakes region. The plot also lies beneath prominent deaths in the region including the death of Laurent Kabila, of John Garang, etc.January 17, 2009 at 2:21 pm #21796MubiruParticipant
Oil wells in Uganda are the personal property of Museveni and family
Published : 16 Jan 2009, Kampala
By a PGB Officer
The now economically feasible oil prospects in Uganda should not be greeted with much fanfare because of the secret nature of the contract. So far, the Ugandan government has refused to release details of the contract citing a confidentially clause, which was included in the contract. It should come as no surprise since this contract was against the national interests of Uganda. I must reveal, at the cost of endangering my life, that this contract is against the national interest and is very bad for our country Uganda.
By the nature of our job, we are sometimes privy to details of meetings which the President holds behind closed doors. The following is the essence of the oil contract, which I will with great pain release to Ugandans.
First, the contract is hidden even from parliament because it was drawn between President Museveni and family (in their private capacities) as the sole and primary Ugandan investors, with Heritage Oil where Tony Buckingham is the CEO, as a secondary partner. To be clear, legally, Museveni’s family owns the oil wells, and NOT the Ugandan government on behalf of the people of Uganda as we often imagine or delude ourselves.
This means that all the oil wells belong to Museveni and his family as personal investment and property. The people of Uganda will only get taxes arising from the sale of oil to the government of Uganda.
Has it ever occurred to you to wonder why the government of Museveni does not want to build the hydro-power station at Karuma Falls to generate electricity for the consumption needs of the country? Or even to implement the old plan of building a hydro-power station at Murchison Falls/Kabalega Falls for hydro-electric power generation to supply the entire country? The reason is simple: If there is enough electric power capacity that the two Falls can easily provide, why should the country purchase oil to generate electricity from Museveni and family’s company?
Has it not puzzled most of you that Museveni is very interested in building small hydro-electric power stations across the country, which can only supply inadequate power, even if used for only lighting purposes in those areas? And which cannot support large scale industrialization even in those remote village areas? Think again before you jubilate, fellow citizens. We are in deep crisis. Museveni and family will own the entire energy resources with a select group of foreign companies and players such as Tony Buckingham.
Second, the Museveni’s family enterprise will be able to extract maximum concessions from Ugandans, as they manipulate the energy needs of the country for their benefit and comfort. Museveni will be the new so-called “Oil-Sheik” like the Sultan of Borneo or the Kings of the Middle East. This means that they will rule forever as a dynasty. Forget any significant change in your welfare as a result of the new reveue, and instead prepare for a life of submission for it is your continuous humility that will be rewarded with crumbs by the new oil barons; to benefit from the economic order, you will need to be a sycophant like the Kakooza Mutales and many others.
Third, the Kingdom of Bunyoro should realize that after them, the next people to be courted with the ultimate aim of subjugation are the “Abacholi”. Though given their reputation in these circles as “stubborn”, always speaking up and never giving him a break, General Museveni has also considered the option of eliminating them.
In a meeting whose details have become known to me, it was planned that the Madhvani Group would be given the land where the oil is. Then when the oil find was later declared, the Ugandan government could then say that it was on a private land, so that “Abacholi” collectively have no rights to it. But it was also recognised that the people (Acholi) on the land are “very stubborn” and would not let Mzee push them around. It was thought that the best way was to “eliminate” (read: murder) some of them but this idea failed to gain enough support because of fears that it might generate support in northern Uganda, for rebels like Kony.
Eventually, as pressure to secure and develop the oil grew, investment in the venture needed to go ahead. Mzee had no choice but to go ahead and publicly declare the oil find. Otherwise for a long time now, the fact that two exploratory oil wells were being sunk in Amuru (where Madhvani was to get land – the 40,000 acres), was kept secret.
But how could the plan to grab and keep the oil resource as a personal investment and property of Museveni’s family be carried out and defended? Here is the how they planned to do it:
It was though that because killing leaders of the “Abacholi” might drive them to support Kony, he (Kony) must first of all be destroyed. After that source of potential blowback had been defused, then the land (oil) in Amuru would be simply be expropriated, since the “Abacholi” are big headed and never to be trusted to cooperate with ‘investors’.
If for whatever reason that course of action did not succeed, then Tony Buckingham could summon his considerable force of private military contractors to help to keep Museveni in power forever. Mr. Buckingham has experience in the field of manipulating political power using private military operations. He has been involved in running military-business complexes revolving around natural resources in places like Papua New Guinea in Asia to West Africa and in particular, in Sierra Leone With professional mercenary groups, which included Executive Outcomes of South Africa under Colonel Ed Barlow, and Colonel Tim Spicer of Sandline International and other extended security businesses including Saracen. In short, Buckingham has the connections and power to deliver and sustain a perpetual monarchy with Museveni and family as the heads.
We must remember that in 1997, Tony Buckingham and company were given control of Sierra Leone’s biggest diamond venture, the Koidu Diamond mines in Kono district, in exchange for keeping Tajan Ahmad Kabbah who had been overthrown, in power. So far, he has interests in the diamond mines worth several billions.
Tony Buckingham is extremely well connected to powerful figures in the British and other western governments. When they were destroying Sierra Leone in direct violation of the United Nations Security Council resolution banning moving in of arms to escalate the conflict, the governments of UK, Canada and US knew but did nothing to stop him. Today, the mines do not benefit the Sierra Leoneans but Tony Buckingham and company and to some extent those connected to former Kabbah’s government. (For a fuller treatment of Buckingham’s background and nefarious projects in Africa and elsewhere, see other online sources like The Wonga Coup from an African Perspective, Marketing the New ‘Dogs of War’, Tales of Tony Buckingham — Editor)
When we hear that the shares of Heritage Oil Company went up in the London Stock Exchange on news of the Amuru oil find, we must ask to whom is that money going? Since the Heritage Oil company works with the Museveni’s, the money goes into their pockets because it is their joint investment in the Ugandan oil.
So the clear reason why the oil contract cannot in its present state see the light of day, even before the parliament of Uganda is because it is a private contract between Museveni and family on one hand, and Heritage Oil on the other. It is a personal investment contract with the Museveni’s as the main proprietary owners. The Ugandan state owns nothing for if it did, why should we be afraid to release the contract to the owners, who are the citizens of the country?
FOR GOD AND MY COUNTRY
Worried Officer, PGBJanuary 18, 2009 at 3:29 am #21817MusajjalumbwaParticipant
Emikisa mingi wagguluko waliyo abalala abavuga family eno, naye anti buli omu alina obuvunanyizibwa ku bikolwa bye. Ekikulu wewuunya amagezi gabaddugavu, nga ebyo bikyagenda mu maaso Africa ejjanga kumanyibwa nga Semazinga eye bizibu era tejja kuggwamu ntalo nakufa. Naye bbo abetegefu okukozesa abalowoza nti olulya olumu lugezza embwa, bbo abo ntoko. Kiri eri bantu okwerwanako.April 7, 2009 at 10:10 pm #22940
Janet Museveni Sacrificing, To Oversee Karamoja Gold In Kaboong
Posted on 03 April 2009
We can exclusively report that the March 2009 appointment of President Museveni’s wife, Janet Kataha, to the post of Minister of State for Karamoja was never about politics. And some of the attacks against the appointment have been done by state agents to confuse Ugandans and foreign donors alike. According a source close to Mr. Museveni’s state house and familiar with the Uganda Geological Surveys and Mines department, Uganda’s strongman appointed his wife for purely economic reasons; to secure direct family involvement in the exploitation of the huge Karamoja gold deposits. On March 9, 2009 Museveni explained his wife’s ministerial appointment to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) with: “Since many of our elite ministers did not want to work in Karamoja, I asked Janet to help me develop one of the backward areas of our country.”
Our source, who requested anonymity to protect her family’s lives, wrote in an email that: “On January 17, 2009 Uganda’s first family was excited that the latest mineral survey report showed so much more gold potential in Karamoja than initially thought. The first step was to order Tuhumwire to remove Karamoja from the mineral report. [Writer’s note: Joshua Tuhumwire, who of the same ethnicity as Mr. and Mrs. Museveni, is the commissioner for geological surveys and mines]. After heated discussions, the family agreed that one of them had to be minister for Karamoja if they were to control that gold without much suspicion. Appointing the first lady minister for Karamoja was seen as the perfect solution because (1) it reduced the tension in the family and (2) as, MP her appointment would help keep Ugandans and donors focused on the political angle.”
Our source’s email further says that it was expected that, in the position of presidential adviser on defense matters, Mr. Museveni’s half-brother Salim Saleh will oversee implementation of secret arrangements to put a security blanket over the Kaboong area, which the biggest prospects for gold deposits. Her email also points out that, “When the first lady visited Karamoja the place which received her highest attention was Kaboong, clear sign that she is 100% confident that Ugandan’s are not bright enough to see below the covers.”
The president’s family has been involved in Karamoja gold mining since the early 1990’s. According the Uganda parliament records (Ansard), in 1995 Mr. Museveni told Ugandan national assembly that: “In Karamoja, six occurrences of gold have been identified and a Uganda registered company, Branch Energy Uganda Limited is going to spend US$7 million during the next two years on prospecting and development. Another company, Anglo-Sudan Corporation is prospecting for gold in the Mityana/Mubende area.” What Mr. Museveni did not mention, which became public information by 1996, is that Branch Energy Uganda Limited was owned by his half-brother Salim Saleh Akandwanaho, in partnership with infamous Branch Energy of South Africa.
Uganda’s subsequent invasion of Congo, a much bigger source of gold and other minerals, and negative publicity about the Branch Energy companies seem to have convinced the Museveni family and their kinsmen to cut back their gold prospecting and mining in Karamoja. Today, the Uganda ruling class does not have access to Congo gold but the mineral trading and shipment network the developed remains intact.
from buganda postApril 8, 2009 at 3:44 pm #22941
So now we can work out the results…These Banyamulenge are intending to finish us by hook or crook!! Another reminder from
frustrated Intelligencia is that Yoweri Tibahaburwa Museveni has already rigged the 2011 elections by installing informers even in classrooms to report on teachers who are not teaching
Patriotism!! Meaning he is not going anywhere!!!.June 17, 2009 at 10:20 am #23964NdibassaParticipant
IS THIS A JOKE OR SOME ONE IS TRYING TO GET A WAY WITH THE GOODS, KATI OLWO BANAABWE BAMAZE DDA NO KUKOLA NE LIST YEBINTU BYEBABADDE BAGENDA OKUSOKERAKO OKUGULA , BAGIrA BAGITEREKA BALINDE BALABE?
‘No oil’ in West Nile
In a mixed set of fortunes, two companies looking for oil in different parts of the country yesterday announced good and bad news.
Whereas Neptune Oil made public that it had failed to find oil in its first well in West Nile, Tullow Oil said it had discovered oil deposits in Kigogole-3, Butiaba and declared it a future oil production site.
Announcing the flop in West Nile, Mr Peter Kingston, the chairman of Tower Resources, the company that owns Neptune, said: “The result is very disappointing for everyone involved, not least the people of West Nile.”
The dry Iti-1 exploration well is the second set of bad news in the sector. Before Tullow made the Kigogole-3 discovery, it had announced in May that it was abandoning the Awaka-1 well in the Butiaba area after encountering water-logged sands.
In a statement posted on its website on Monday, Tower said it would review overall data before drilling elsewhere in its licence area.
“The lack of reservoir at this location could not justify further testing or the immediate move to drill a second well” the Tower statement said.
Mr Kingston said: “However this is a very large licence and there is every chance that far better reservoir sand quality can be found elsewhere [in the license area]”.
Tower Resources has not said when it would re-commence drilling at another location.
“A complete re-evaluation of the well data, combined with all other available technical data, will be undertaken as a priority to determine a more prospective location for a second well,” it said instead.
Neptune Country Director Maryline Hill, however, remains hopeful that oil could be found at the other two oil wells in Arua particularly Logboo and Nsambya.
“It is true we have not found the oil and we are saddened by the story. But the locals should not lose hope because we still have the remaining oil wells,” she said.
Besides Uganda’s south western border, oil is believed to be present in the entire stretch of the Albert Rift Valley.
Heritage Oil and Gas one of the other exploration company announced its biggest find in the northern district of Amuru at the beginning of the year.
Uganda would like to buck the established trend of other African countries exporting crude by establishing its own refinery.
A government team is currently conducting a study on what size of refinery the country’s reserves can support.June 17, 2009 at 12:01 pm #23967KalibattanyaParticipant
Kyootonnalya tokyesunga ettooke baaliridde!!June 17, 2009 at 12:29 pm #23972
Ono Salim Saleh jjolyabalamu yabadde ku Fm Radio emu mu Kampala
nga aloota mbu mugandawe Yetaaga Emyaka emirala 40 amakumi ana okumaliriliza emirimu gye!!! hahahaaaaaa..sirina gafa nseko!! mirimu ki egyo!! okujjako okubba obubbi ensimbi ezaalibadde zizimba ensi!! Buli lwebababuuza Development nga muwoza “in two
Years..it is now 23 years ago!! Mugende gemwava!!Tubakooye!!November 24, 2009 at 5:55 am #25560
M7 anaguza abantu bameka amafuta ? ye Abanyolo bo deal banagiyingiramu ddi? or they don’t matter and if they dare say anything they will be beaten up
Government yet to okay sale of oil wells
Monday, 23rd November, 2009
Aerial view of the Heritage Oil drilling plant in Hoima
By Ibrahim Kasita
THE Government has not yet approved the sale of Ugandan oil fields to an Italian company, a senior energy ministry official has said.
Ernest Rubondo, the commissioner in the petroleum exploration and production department, said any transaction related to the oil discovered in the Albertine Graben is “subject to Government approval”.
Heritage Oil in a statement yesterday confirmed that it has entered into a letter of intent to sell its interest in two oil blocks to Eni Spa, an Italian company. The two blocks are owned by both Heritage Oil and Tullow Oil in a 50-50% joint venture.
“The Government is still reviewing the documentation and once the review is finished, a decision will be made,” Rubondo said.
Heritage acknowledged that the completion of the $1.5b deal was still subject to approval by a majority of its shareholders and the Ugandan Government.
The statement added that the Government of Uganda had been consulted on the proposed transaction and had indicated its support for Eni’s entrance.
According to the deal, Eni will pay $1.35 billion upfront and a further $150 million in cash or a stake in a producing oil field of a similar value within two years, provided certain conditions are met.
“Following a strategic review, we decided to enter into this letter of intent with Eni as we recognize the very large, multi-billion dollar investment which is required to develop the Albert Basin and the related infrastructure,” Heritage boss Tony Buckingham explained.
Heritage has spent about $150m on its oil and gas interest in Uganda since being awarded its first license in 1997, the company noted.
Proceeds from the sale, it added, would be used to develop Heritage’s existing assets, including non-producing fields in Kurdistan, to make acquisitions and possibly pay out a special dividend to its shareholders. However, the price was below most analysts’ valuations of the Ugandan fields. Analyst Morgan Stanley valued them at $2b.
“The discount reflects Heritage’s cash requirements to fund Kurdistan and perceptions as a forced seller,” Stanley said in a research note.
The Ugandan deal is the latest in a string of African acquisitions by Eni in recent years. The Italian company is currently present in 70 countries, among them in West and North Africa.
Eni is Italy’s largest industrial company with a market capitalization of $138b as of July 2008. The Italian Government owns a 30% golden share in the company.
However, the firm was embroiled in a controversy involving the Russian energy firm Gazprom and Silvio Berlusconi, Italy’s premier.
Under the deal, signed in May 2005, the Russian energy giant would receive direct access to the gas distribution market in a major European country.
It had the full support of the then Russian President Vladimir Putin and Berlusconi.
But two month after the signing, the two chief executive officers announced that the deal was canceled.
This was after the Italian parliament questioned the legitimacy of the arrangement when it became known that one-third of the shares in the trading company Central Energy Italian Gas Holding belonged to Bruno Mentasti-Grinelli, who happened to be Berlusconi’s old friend and partner. In 2009, the European Commission filed formal antitrust charges against Eni. The commission believes that Eni has conspired to keep competitors from using its gas pipelines.
Eni’s involvement in Uganda could be good news for Italian energy engineering company Saipem, which is controlled by Eni. Saipem has considerable experience in pipelines and often works closely with Eni.
Most of the oil produced in Uganda is likely to be exported to international markets, requiring the construction of a pipeline to the Kenyan coast.
As the oil under Lake Albert is waxy, the pipeline will need to be heated, making it an expensive project – a project beyond most explorers’ competence.November 24, 2009 at 1:05 pm #25564
This is a sign of panic! All Oil-producing Countries warned them
that It will take another 20 years for the first barrel to be pumped out of Uganda!! Sadly they wont be anywhere to be seen!!
So they are now selling their “Mpewo” as usual!! Only this time Ugandans should stand up and Question these Transactions!!…GET
UP UGANDANS AND CATCH THEM RED-HANDED..THIEVES THEY ARE!!!!November 25, 2009 at 10:15 pm #25561
Why Uganda’s oil is like prostitutes and gamblers
I was quite tickled that Mr Tony Buckingham, the shrewd ex-mercenary and chief of Heritage Oil, is set to make £80million (Shs240 billion) from selling its lucrative oil fields in Uganda.
Buckingham has done a deal to flog his company’s oil fields in western Uganda to Eni of Italy for a cool $1.5 billion.
This story reminded me of what they said about the many Gold Rushes in America; that the people who made the most money from it were not the miners who went to mine, but the people who went to mine the miners.
One way to best understand this is to look at an industry that is very much on display every night near places like Speke Hotel – prostitution. Contrary to popular belief, the people who make the most money from prostitution are not the prostitutes.
First, the policemen they have to bribe so they can leave them alone, make more than the prostitutes. A prostitute might do business with, say, five men in a night. Let us, for purposes of example, say each of the men pay Prostitute X Shs20,000; that is Shs100,000. Maybe she pays the policeman Shs15,000 to turn a blind eye.
However, the difference is that while she has only five customers a night, the policeman has about 20 prostitutes around town bribing him a night. So he goes home with Shs300,000 a night, but Prostitute X, who is the one who sells the primary service, goes home with Shs85,000. But she won’t be so lucky. She has other payments to make; Shs5,000 to the street boy who keeps a lookout for her, and if she has a pimp, she pays him Shs15,000. Therefore she takes home Shs65,000 only.
It is the same with Heritage. It’s making $1.5b not from selling the fields, but from selling its discovery. It is up to Eni (and Uganda) to try and make money from the oil, and they face uncertainties that Heritage no longer does.
Someone will have to sell (and service) the heavy equipment for drilling oil; to put money to finance the drilling; to sell insurance, name it. All these fellows will get paid BEFORE Uganda earns a dollar from selling a barrel of oil. And in the end, they will earn the most money because they will not be paying the heavy environmental price that comes with the oil business.
The real secret in making money in natural resources, therefore, is to play in the transferrable part of the business. An oil well is not movable. However, money earned from lending to oil companies and financing infrastructure is highly movable. Heritage Oil can now take its money to Shanghai, China, and invest in the booming property market there. Our oil wells, meanwhile, will remain in Bunyoro.
Others have been there before us. I like these subversive websites that like bringing awkward facts to lights. One of the more user-friendly ones as far as natural resources, especially gold, is concerned is ozkids.com.
It tells us that when gold was found in California in 1848, thousands rushed to look for fortune. As they still do more than 250 years in places like DR Congo and Sierra Leone, the miners of that time searched for flakes of gold, by sifting soil at the bottom of streams with a shallow pan. After a few years, the gold was harder to find, and heavy machines moved in. The miners got their horses and on to the next big find.
Most miners stayed poor (how little things change), because only a few of them found large amounts of gold. “The people who most often made money on the gold fields were the merchants who sold supplies to the miners,” ozkids.com reports. Well after the gold mines of the time have been forgotten, Levi Straus is still very much in business selling what it sold to miners then – jeans.
Far far away in Australia, at about the same time gold was found. The miners flocked in their thousands to the fields hoping to make it big.
It was hell for the miners. They had to pay for a licence before they could dig. It was backbreaking work and they were not becoming rich. They rioted
However, there were groups of people who were making it very big. These were, again, the fellows who came to mine the miners: The merchants who sold food and equipment to the diggers found business profitable, many grew very rich.
If there is anything in this, Heritage has taught us a valuable lesson in the key to making money in oil, and the secret to prosperity. It is a rule that works almost everywhere else: If you want to make money from a casino, don’t be the gambler. Be the casino owner.
If you want to win an election (in places like Uganda), don’t vote. Count the votes.
If you want to be very powerful and make a fortune from the presidency, you don’t have to be president. The only thing you need is to know el Presidente. Teach your children this ancient lesson.
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