The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament on Wednesday called for the prosecution of the Energy Commission for violating its provision that allows it to enter into a two year maximum rent agreement.
The Commission was found culpable after it came to light at the second day of sitting of the PAC that the Energy Commission entered into a four year rent agreement in 2005 to acquire office space for its staff at the cost of four billion old cedis.
The amazed members of PAC indicated that such an amount, which the Commission spent, could be used to acquire a permanent structure for members of staff.
Dr Alfred Ofosu Ahenkorah, Executive Secretary of the Energy Commission, told the Committee that the violation was an emergency decision taken at the time the Commission was being ejected from its rented apartment.
He said plans were on course to acquire a permanent office space for the Commission.
Mr Albert Kan Dapaah, Chairman of PAC earlier on congratulated Commission for having a clean record that had no adverse finding against them until the rent issue came up during questioning.
In the period under review (2004 and 2005), the Commission’s total income for the year was 18.67 billion cedis as against 16.18 billion cedis recorded in 2004.
The Commission also recorded an operational surplus of 1.43 billion cedis as compared to a deficit of 1.06 billion cedis in 2004.
During the turn of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNAPC), its Chief Executive Officer, Mr Andrew Badoo debunked the assertion that Ghana was in haste to extract oil.
He said though the programme to get the first barrel of oil in Ghana was to be realized within a four year, government had taken the necessary steps to review the Petroleum law (PNDC LI 84).
Mr Badoo said the proposed amendments were before Cabinet and would soon be placed before parliament.
He added that government would do everything in its power to ensure that whatever accrued from the oil sector benefit all Ghanaians.
When Mr Badoo was asked about Ghana’s readiness for the oil exploration, he said Ghana was very ready for the task.
Mr Badoo said total income of GNPC fell from 34.76 million cedis in 2004 to 26.30 billion in 2005.
He said the fall was as a result of a decrease of 78.7 per cent in the Ministry of Energy’s budgetary support to the Corporation from 12.68 billion cedis in 2004 to 2.7 billion cedis in 2005.
He said unfortunately exploration levy had risen by 198 percent.
Mr Badoo noted that the Corporation’s operations for the year ended with an excess of income over expenditure of 3.43 billion cedis compared to 6.59 billion cedis in 2004 representing a fall of 48 percent.
Mr Tony Fofie, Chief Executive of Ghana Cocoa Board (Cocobod) said Ghana’s price for a bag of cocoa far more out-weighed the producer price of cocoa in Cote d’lvoire especially when incentive packages such as scholarships to children’s of cocoa farmers and other social responsibilities were taken into account.
PAC identified Cocobod’s major problem as non recovery of debt.
The audited report stated that an amount of 4,293,235,708 cedis owed by nine Licensed Buying Companies for which no effort had been made to redeem it.
Again, a debt of 413.98 billion cedis owed the board by WAMCO was being disputed while Sages Engineering Limited, which owed the board 42,000,000 cedis wrote to indicate that their records showed they were not indebted to Cocobod.
Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu member for Dormaa West and member of the PAC warned them not be deceived in believing that Cocobod had a lot of assets that they might be reluctant in retrieving their debts.
He cited the example of the Volta River Authority which in the 1970s was very rich but now in debt.