Prosecute people who misuse oil money – Oguamanhene

A member of the Committee, Joseph Winful, in a tête-à-tête with Osabirima Kwesi Atta II during the courtesy call on him at the Emintsimadze Palace

The Omanhene of Ogua Traditional Area, Osabirima Kwesi Atta II, has called on the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) to seek the prosecution of those who violate the petroleum revenue regulations, in order to ensure judicious use of the country’s oil money.

While he observed that the Committee’s work continues to deepen transparency in the use of the oil money, he noted that PIAC’s inability to prosecute people who misuse oil revenues weakens accountability.

He said to a greater extent this provides an escape route for those who are entrusted with the oil monies for development, to get away upon acting contrary to the established petroleum revenue regulations.

Osabirima Kwesi Atta II, who is a former member of the Committee which is mandated to evaluate and monitor the use of petroleum revenues, urged that PIAC should go a step further to ensure its work deters people from abusing the oil revenues.

The Oguamanhene made these pronouncements when members of the Committee paid a courtesy call on him at the Emintsimadze Palace, in Cape Coast. The visit forms part of PIAC’s routine district engagement and oil-funded project inspections across various regions of the country.

Members of the Committee led by its Vice-Chairman, Dr. Thomas Kojo Stephens, assured the Oguamanhene of their commitment and preparedness to ensure that all legal avenues are explored to bring transparency and accountability in the use of oil revenues.

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For instance, PIAC has recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) to collaborate and go after officials who misuse petroleum revenues.

Furthermore, the Committee has also said it is exploring similar collaborations with the Office of the Special Prosecutor and Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ). The Committee will soon sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the two prosecutorial bodies as part of measures to prevent wanton embezzlement and criminal abuse.

The Chairman of PIAC, Dr. Steve Manteaw, has explained that the move will ensure effective implementation of many recommendations contained in the Committee’s reports.

The MoU will also enable the partners to work toward safeguarding the country’s petroleum revenues from criminal abuse, as well as combat economic and organised crimes relating to management and use of funds. It will also ensure efficient, transparent and accountable management of the revenue to support national infrastructural development and the people’s welfare.

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