Government and Oil companies have come under the spotlight from some of the Project Affected Persons-PAPs in the Albertain Grabben for alleged failure to disclose key information on the petroleum development projects.
The most affected are residents surrounding TILENGA project, which comprises of six oil fields including Jobi-Rii, Ngiri, Gunya, Kasamene-Warindi, Nsoga and Kigogole.
The six oil fields will be developed together via a single Central Processing Facility - CPF with a production capacity of 200,000 barrels of oil per day, gas, produced water, injection water and associated utilities and camps.
TILENGA project is found in Kasenyi village in Ngwedo Sub-County in Buliisa District. The project under implementation through a Joint Venture with Partners Tullow Uganda and Total E&P will drill 400 wells from over 30 well pads.
Some of the Project Affected Persons-PAPs, say a lot is still unclear under the Resettlement Action Plan - RAP. They made revelations during a joint extractive industry stakeholder engagement workshop organised by the office of the Auditor General -AG, Inspectorate of Government -IGG and the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority -PPDA at the Kampala Serena Hotel on Wednesday.
Richard Mugayo, a resident of Kasenyi village, is among the 30 people displaced by the project. According to Mugayo, he opted to be resettled as opposed to being compensated. He however, notes that despite seeing the plan of his proposed house and the plot being surveyed, the project managers have refused to disclose the value of the house.
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He explains that as part of the resettlement, each acre of land was valued at Shillings 3.5million, which he says it too little given the fact that he can't use the money to buy a similar size of the land.
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Dickson Akampereza, another Project Affected Person in the Buliisa district, says in addition to delayed release of funds, the compensation was inadequate.
According to Akampereza, the Project Affected Persons were forced to sign land acquisition agreements in 2012 with promises that they were be compensated within six months. He however, says the money didn't come until after four years when land prices had changed.
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Akampereza alleges that majority of project units were characterised by shoddy works. He cited an example of the falling ceiling at Kyapaloni Primary School in Katooke. Village in Buseruka Sub County in Hoima district.
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Kyapaloni and Nyahaira primary schools in Kabaale parish were relocated in 2014 after their original location was earmarked to host the oil refinery project.
Simon Kinene Agaba, the Buliisa District Chairperson observes that a lot of land related conflicts in the area are fueled by speculators and variations in compensation.
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Francis Elungat, a Land Officer in the Petroleum Directorate in the Energy Ministry dismissed the allegations of inadequate compensation, arguing that the compensation was based on the open market value of land in the area.
Elungat observes that having been part of the team that reviewed property owners in the refinery project area, the initial cost of an acre in the area was Shillings 800,000 but was increased to Shillings 3.5 million due to delays.
"We know that to this day, if you gave me 3.5million Shillings, I will buy you an acre of land in Buseruka Sub County. And we know it," Elungat says.
Adding that, "Those who were for resettlement, were settled and they are in Kyakaboga in their houses. Those who were for money came and signed for it and went. But we have had some NGOs, which keep inciting them, reminding them how they are suffering and maybe that is why they are still complaining."
Responding to the claims of the collapsing ceilings in Kyapaloni Primary School, Honey Malinga, the Acting Director of Petroleum in the Energy Ministry blamed it on poor supervision of the project.