Those who negotiate resource contracts in the name of the Republic must bear in mind that they do so on behalf of the citizenry.
“They owe us explanations for what they do with the power we have vested in them.”
Dr Steve Manteaw, a policy analyst said this in Accra at a public forum dubbed, “The 30 billion dollars state capture in Ghana’s oil industry AKER/AGM Deal: Is Ghana being sold off?”
He said contracting was a major risk in the extractive industry value chain.
“Political capture, rent-seeking, bribery, cronyism, etc are all forms of corruption associated with contracting”, said the policy analyst.
Dr Manteaw mentioned selective tendering, unchecked discretion,secrecy around the selection of the local firms to partner foreign firms in all oil contracts among others as the key enabling factors.
He said it was regrettable that Ghana’s achievement in the past few years as a pacesetter in good resource governance, “has taken a good beating from recent controversies over what I will describe as questionable contracts and contract reviews.”
Dr Manteaw referred to the contract under discussion saying, “in this particular instance, not only was the decision concealed from the public, it was most regrettably rushed in an orchestrated attempt to escape public scrutiny.”
He said to prevent such occurrences; a legislative reform would be needed to push for a review of the sweeping discretion given one person to take major decisions on behalf of the state in the oil and gas industry.
Dr Manteaw said this was important because of the nature of Ghana’s political scenario “where parliament’s potency to check the abuse of discretionary power is weakened by the hybrid system of the democratic governance we practice”
Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, Member of Parliament (MP) for the North Tongu constituency in the Volta Region, said the practice, where one side of parliament was always “hooked on” to the ruling government, did not enable Parliament to be as diligent as it could be.
He observed that in other countries, the voting pattern of each Member of Parliament could be tracked, and this made parliamentarians accountable to their constituents.
The MP said the moment voting, as well as debating records of individual parliamentarians were tracked by their constituents, that would determine whether they would be re-elected or not, which in effect would make them more accountable when taking decisions on behalf of the people they represented.
The event was organised by the Caucus for Democratic Governance-Ghana.