PIAC calls for forensic audit of oil funded projects
Government must, as a matter of urgency, conduct a forensic audit into projects funded with proceeds from petroleum resources to ensure value for money, the Public Interest Accountability Committee has demanded.
The demand by PIAC comes after a visit by its members to some projects funded from oil revenue showed that the projects were non-existent although monies have been disbursed for them.
Speaking to journalists during the tour in the Eastern Region, a member of PIAC, Dr. Steve Manteaw, said PIAC has often uncovered instances of misapplication of oil revenues.
“PIAC has, on several occasions, raised the issue about poorly executed oil funded projects…The time has come for government to do a forensic audit of oil funded projects in this country and to bring to book anybody who has abused our common heritage, which is a revenue derived from this extraction of resource.
I think if we do that it will serve as a deterrent for anybody who will be tempted to abuse the oil revenue because he thinks there will not be any consequences for his actions,” Dr. Manteaw said.
According to Dr. Manteaw, although PIAC has been able to establish that certain projects supposed to be funded with oil money were not undertaken, it is not clothed with the power to investigate and to subpoena.
“Meanwhile, there are institutions of state that have the proper power to invite people to come before them and then to answer questions on certain things. If PIAC was clothed with that mandate, we would have done that.
I’m calling on government to set in motion those institutions to begin working on the revelations arising from PIAC’s work to ensure that there is proper accountability for the revenues that are derived from the oil sector,” he said.
PIAC’s visit to the Eastern Region saw its members inspect some projects funded with revenue from petroleum in the East Akim Municipal Assembly, among other areas.
Some of the projects include bitumen surfacing of New Tafo-Nobi-Samlesi- Anwiabeng Feeder Road, a Steel Bridge on River Ponpon on Nsutapong Chakachakam-Osuobri Ponponse Feeder Road.
The visiting team, which included journalists drawn from the Institute of Finance and Economic Journalists, also toured a six-classroom block at Apedwa, East Akim, funded with proceeds from oil revenue.
Despite being built in 2014, the classroom block serving inhabitants of the Apedwa main township, is gradually giving in to the strength of the water-logged surface upon which it was built, with its rear showing visible signs of accelerated deterioration.
Mark Agyemang, the Technical Manager at the Public Interest and Accountability Committee, blamed the situation on poor supervision, saying that the situation where oil and gas revenue funded projects are implemented and supervised from Accra is not helpful.
He said PIAC’s visits to a number of such projects show that the situation is widespread and is typically as a result of poor supervision at the project’s implementation stage.
“What we have also found is that in most of these cases, the beneficiaries are not told the source of the funds for the projects, which we find not acceptable. Generally, one way of ensuring accountability is for the beneficiaries to know where the monies are coming from.
When you do that, you get the people beginning to appreciate the impact of the country’s resources,” he added.