Legal Dispute Looms as Uganda’s Fuel Importation Contract Faces Challenges

In a legal showdown, the Uganda National Oil Company (UNOC) is preparing to face petitioners in Machakos High Court’s petition number E014 of 2023.

Royani Energy Limited, Charles Kombo, and Acacia Ridge Construction are seeking the court’s intervention in Uganda’s decision to withdraw from a fuel importation deal with Kenya.

Peter Muliisa, the Head of Legal and Corporate Affairs at UNOC, expressed confidence in their legal team.

“There is no cause for worry on the Ugandan part as the deal is in the best interest of Ugandans,” he stated.

The legal twist extends across borders, as Kenyan companies filed an application on November 7th, 2023, escalating the matter.

The petition, with three main applicants, challenges the involvement of key entities, including the Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Energy and Petroleum, the Attorney General, E & Petroleum Regulatory Authority, and UNOC as the 4th respondent.

Muliisa confirmed UNOC’s awareness of the application.

“We are ready to face the legal challenges head-on,” he emphasized.

At the heart of the controversy is Vitol Bahrain, the focal point of public scrutiny. Muliisa defended the deal.

“There is sufficient evidence to show that the supplier can guarantee steady petroleum supply to the country,” he asserted.

The decision to cancel the fuel importation into Uganda stems from concerns over fuel overpricing, raising questions about its impact on pump prices. Muliisa addressed this, stating,

“Amendments in the petroleum supply act will see UNOC directly source fuel from Vitol Bahrain, starting January 2024, with the aim of benefitting Ugandan Oil marketing companies.”

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