By Joel Mugabi
A whistleblower has lifted the lid over allegations of corruption and sectarianism in the compensation and recruitment exercises for the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) Project. Through his lawyers of YALEDI Advocates, Moses Mufakinanye aka Omujugujugu (an outspoken NRM cadre from Isingiro) has written to the Team Leader EACOP Project, Total Energies Uganda, and the Managing Director, TotalEnergies Uganda, complaining about alleged misconduct by Fred Bazarabusa, the Land Lead Coordinator, as well as flaws in recruitment of five community liason officers and stakeholder engagement coordinator for EACOP.
GOING AFTER BAZARABUSA
Mufakinanye claims that Bazarabusa’s actions pose a serious risk of tribal tensions in the Albertine Region, which he said would be “detrimental” to both Total and Uganda. He accuses Bazarabusa of creating a rift and tensions between the Bakiga and Banyoro communities in Kikube District, arguing that due to his conduct and influence, most people belonging to the Bakiga Community have signed up for compensation while members of the Banyoro Community have dragged their feet or deliberately refused to sign “due to tribal divisions that compensation is being made discriminately to only the Bakiga, a matter which should be immediately addressed.”
The whistleblower further alleges that Bazarabusa has influenced Project Affected Persons (PAPs) on land at Katikara Camp Site, in Kakumiro District to reject statutory disclosure and bank account opening, which has, consequently, “sparked chaos within the area.”
He also claims that Bazarabusa has advised the landlords at Campsite at Katikara-Kakumiro District not to recognize the Bibanja Holders as their tenants. That he has further convinced the landlords that they will get more compensation if they do this. Mufakinanye further alleges that Bazarabusa has solicited kickbacks in case thus deal succeeds.
In another petition to the Managing Director, TotalEnergies Uganda, also dated December 20, Mufakinanye claims that there have been flaws in recruitment of five community liaison officers and the stakeholder engagement coordinator for EACOP.
The whistleblower avers that on May 19, 2021, TotalEnergies Uganda advertised for the positions of liaison officers and a stakeholder engagement coordinator, for which interviews were conducted in July and August 2021 at Total Energies’ headquarters under the close supervision of Roeygens Jeremy, Catherine Barasa, the social lead coordinator, and an administrator only identified as Juliet.
“Subsequently, a few months after the said interviews and without any justifiable reason whatsoever, a fresh advert for the same positions was made on the 8th November 2021. This advert had a deadline for receiving applications on 10th November, 2021, but it was extended to 12th November, 2021 to favour some intending applicants who he understands administrators intended to favor for the said job opportunities,” the whistleblower alleged in his petition drafted by YALEDI Advocates.
Mufakinanye further claims that after the second advert, some individuals were contacted by means of phone calls and encouraged to apply for the jobs, adding that “no interviews were conducted after the second advert had lapsed.” It is for this reason that the whistleblower “suspects that the purpose advert was to hoodwink society as the intended employees were already known.”
He has now demanded an investigation into this recruitment exercise, with the view of punishing those who could have abused their offices to flout recruitment procedures, and to ensure that those who had applied for the jobs get justice. YALEDI Advocates have also called for an “independent ethic audit to investigate the issues raised to their logical conclusion.” The whistleblower’s lawyers also threatened to seek court redress if “exhaustive and immediate action” is not taken. They have also asked security and anti-corruption agencies to take up the matter. (For comments on this story, call, text or whatsapp us on 0705579994 [whatsapp line], 0779411734, 0200900416 or email us firstname.lastname@example.org).