Dr Steve Manteaw, Chairman, Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC), says his outfit will soon refer cases of nonexistent projects funded with oil revenue to the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) for investigation.
He says PIAC in the coming weeks will submit to EOCO – under a Memorandum of Understanding entered into earlier this year, cases on supposed projects which on official records have been executed and completed, but could not be traced during verification and inspection.
Dr Manteaw, who was speaking at a public forum in Ashaiman on the management of the country’s petroleum revenue between 2011 and 2018, indicated that an inspection undertaken by PIAC revealed that, some projects including channeling works on the Nakori dam and the Duri Dam Irrigation Rehabilitation Project in the Upper West Region allocated in 2014, were both nonexistent.
The public forum, organised by PIAC, to be replicated across the country, afforded stakeholders the opportunity to deliberate widely on how best the country’s petroleum revenue could be effectively managed and prudently used for development.
To avert such occurrences, he explained that it was appropriate to prosecute persons found to have misappropriated funds to ensure the prudent management of the country’s petroleum revenue in future.
He indicated that, as part of its mandate to provide independent assessment on the management and use of petroleum revenue as provided under Act 815 2011, PIAC would monitor and evaluate compliance with the Act by government and relevant institutions.
According to him, the country over the years had not managed other natural resources like gold prudently for the benefit of the citizenry and as a result had led to underdevelopment especially in such mining communities.
“The committee was instituted to reinforce transparency, accountability and further ensure the judicious use of petroleum revenue for development and for the benefit of generations unborn, ” he said.
He stated that the country’s petroleum revenue had been used to tackle too many national problems at the same time and said it had weakened its potential impacts on the socio-economic development of Ghana.
PIAC, he noted, had forwarded these concerns to government through its annual and semi-annual report and had called for well defined and proper guidelines in the selection of priority areas to expend petroleum revenue.
Mr Albert Boakye Okyere, Municipal Chief Executive, Ashaiman Municipal Assembly, who joined other assembly officials at the forum, called for further consultation and many of such forums to further sensitise Ghanaians on how the country’s oil revenue was being managed and used.
Participants, many of who expressed shock at the level of misappropriation of the country’s oil revenue in the past, said the forum had provided them adequate insight on how revenue accrued from the country’s oil was being utilised.
They, therefore, called on mandated bodies to prosecute persons found guilty of any wrongdoing.