By Andrew Irumba
Tullow Oil, a United Kingdom oil exploration company, has recalled Dfcu bank Board Chairman Jimmy Mugerwa, who was the Managing Director of Tullow Oil Uganda, back to the UK for further assignment.
Mariam Nampeera Mboowa, a lawyer who was the Company lead counsel, has since been appointed as the Acting Managing Director (MD) Tullow Oil Uganda, until her bosses in the UK decided to either retain her in that position or replace her with someone else.
Nampeera has vast experience in the oil and gas sector and has been working with the Tullow Oil for about seven years as its lead counsel for both the company’s operations in Uganda and Kenya.
It is said that chief among the reasons why Mugerwa was recalled to London is the bad press he has been attracting as Dfcu bank’s board chairman. This, according to insiders, has been tarnishing Tullow Oil’s international image, especially among potential investors.
It is thus said that appointing Nampeera as his replacement is a move the mother company thinks will help salvage its image.
Her bosses also anticipate that Nampeera will help the company manage its farm down in Uganda, the processes undergoing negotiations with government.
Prior to being recalled to London, Mugerwa had been under pressure to contain publicity coming from Dfcu Bank after it acquired Crane Bank Limited under controversial circumstance but he failed.
Last month while addressing guests at the 3rd annual Ugandan Bankers’ Conference, he urged government to reign on local media that reports negatively about him and Dfcu bank.
Before joining Tullow, Mugerwa had worked in the oil and gas sector with Shell and his expertise in government relations, which Tullow needed badly.
He was appointed Tullow Oil General Manager when the partners within the Lake Albert Basin were about to embark on a major oil development which would see Uganda enter the league of oil producing nations
However Mugerwa’s reign at Tullow Oil Uganda has not achieved much, with the farm down facing challenges.
Tullow Plc recently said it was frustrated because negotiations were taking too long to be completed in the transaction in Uganda’s oil sector worth about USD900m.
As chairman Dfcu bank, Mugerwa helped the bank to acquire Crane Bank Limited, which has since become a controversial move, leading to the resignation former MD Juma Kisaame.
The investigation by the Auditor General and the probe by Uganda Parliament into the sale of seven commercial banks closed by the Bank of Uganda, unmasked Dfcu bank as a player in fraudulent transactions that led to the purchase of assets of Crane Bank Limited and Global Trust Bank Uganda in January 2017 and 2014 respectively, something that has since raised a lot of controversy.
The bad press that followed Dfcu and Bank of Uganda left Mugerwa and other top bank manager open to professional criticism over their judgment and decisions taken, plus their questionable involvement in the same, which Tullow Oil Management couldn’t stomach.
To make matters worses, he hasn’t had a good relations with Kampala as it is reported that at one of the meetings at State House, Mugerwa was chased out by President Yoweri Museveni.
However, Mugerwa’s recall to London also comes at the time when Tullow Oil has announced a major oil discovery in the Orinduik block in Guyana, raising expectations it will move to develop a field in the oil-rich South American country.
The discovery in the closely watched Jethro-1 well follows a number of exploration successes by Exxon Mobil in the neighbouring Stabroek block in recent years.
Tullow Chief Executive Paul McDade said the well is expected to hold over 100 million barrels of oil, in excess of expectations. The company will start drilling a second well, Joe-1, later this month.
Who Is Nampeera
This brilliant and seasoned lawyer holds a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) from Makerere University and Masters of Law, Commercial and Corporate Law from London School of Economics and Political Science, plus a diploma in petroleaum policy and management from PETRAD-Stavanger, Norway. She has also worked with Shell and Mobil Uganda Limited.