By: Fred Yaw Sarpong
The Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC), the mandated body to monitor the use of Ghana’s oil revenues has been asked to go to court to seek strict compliance of the laws covering accountability of oil funds in the country.
According to Dr. Steve Manteaw, the Campaign Coordinator for ISODEC and a member of the PIAC , it’s time for PIAC as a body to consider going to court to compel institutions responsible for managing Ghana’s oil revenue to answers some questions concerning the expenditure of oil funds.
He pointed out that there are several recommendations made by the PIAC in its past reports on management of petroleum revenues, and a lot of these recommendations has received no positive response from the institutions concerned.
He disclosed this to the Daily Express at a three-day workshop on Interrogating the 2016 Semi Annual PIAC Report at Koforidua in the Eastern Region.
The workshop was organized by the Institute of Financial and Economic Journalist (IFEJ) in collaboration with PIAC Secretariat. The event was sponsored by GIZ, German Corporation. The programme brought together over 30 participants from some selected media houses, PIAC and GIZ.
“If we do not compel these institutions to do what is right and answer some questions with regard to petroleum funds, they will never give accountability to the people of this country,” said Dr. Manteaw.
Dr. Manteaw raised concern about Ghana National Petroleum Company (GNPC) not complying with PIAC’s recommendations.
In PIAC’s report for the first half of 2016, it was recommended that “the GNPC should desist from financing infrastructure projects with funds allocated to it from petroleum revenues. PIAC proposes that any outstanding payments to be made in respect of the Western Corridor Road project must be paid from the allocations to the roads and other infrastructure priority areas.”
He indicated that the GNPC has not taken into consideration this recommendation from the PIAC report. “The GNPC has been financing other projects with funds allocated to it from the petroleum funds. This is wrong and that’s why PIAC has to go to court to make sure some of these recommendations are enforce,” Dr. Manteaw said.
In his response, Mr. Kwame Jantuah, the Vice Chairman of PIAC said the committee does not have powers to prosecute. “PIAC also do not have the resources to go to court to enforce these recommendations. But what we intend doing is to alert all PIAC members to consider educating or informing their respective institutions about their roles to implements these recommendations,’ he stated.
Dr. John Gatsi, an Economist and a Senior Lecturer at the University of Cape Coast Business School encouraged Ghanaians to go to court in order to enforce some of these recommendations.
“Ghanaians should know that the PIAC report serves their interest and for that matter they can take the report and go to court,” he added.