GT Bank officials grilled over Shs3.6b ‘oil bribe’ to Energy officials

CID Spokesperson, Charles Twine. (Courtesy photo).

The Police Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID) is investigating three top officials of Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB) for allegedly withdrawing $1m (about Shs3.6b) from the accounts of Oranto Petroleum, a Nigerian company that is doing oil exploration in the Albertine Graben without authorisation.

Sources close to the investigation have told PML Daily that the said money was withdrawn a day after the Oranto Petroleum won the oil exploration contract from the Ministry of Energy in 2017.

Police detectives intimated to PML Daily that Joseph Brown, the country director of Oranto Petroleum International Limited, raised the query after the money was withdrawn saying he had not authorised the transaction from the company’s dollar account where he is the principal signatory.

Mr Brown, according to the investigators, believes that the money was connivance between the bank and Prince Arthur Eze, the chairperson Board of directors of Oranto Petroleum International Limited.

The CID detectives also believe that the money could have been used to bribe Energy officials following the awarding of the contract.

Police detectives intimated to PML Daily that Prince Eze flew to Uganda on October 9, 2017, and a contract was signed with officials of the Ministry of Energy the following day.

An hour after the contract had been signed, Energy officials allegedly rushed to GT Bank headquarters along Kira Road and held a closed-door meeting with the then GT managing director, Irenosen Ohiwereh.

Mr Ohiwereh, who has already been grilled over the matter, has since been transferred to Rwanda.

Mr Brown also told the detectives that GT Bank created a cheque number 151152153 where Mr Eze was the payer and withdrawer of the Shs3.6b.

Yesterday (Tuesday), February 23, 2021, senior GT Bank officials were grilled by the CID in connection with the matter.

Mr Charles Twine, the CID spokesperson, in a telephone interview confirmed the investigations, adding that more GTB officials are expected to appear before the weekends.

GT Bank officials were not immediately available for a comment.

Detectives said the next step is tracing for all ministry of energy officials who witnessed the signing of the contract, including those who met GT Bank an hour after the contract was signed and Shs3.6b was withdrawn.

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