The Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC), is demanding immediate release of relevant information of oil revenue from the annual budgetary allocations to help complete its statutory half year report.
PIAC today told a news conference it may be compelled to take legal action to push the Finance Ministry to respond to their request.
Chairman of the committee, Dr. Steve Manteaw who raised several other concerns said the amount involved is huge; over ¢403. 74 million.
Dr Steve Manteaw noted it has already missed the September 15th deadline to file its statutory report as a result of the development. He explained that PIAC officially sent a request as far back as July but there has been no response.
“Our request for the half year data for 2018 has not been fully responded to. We requested for the data on 17th July 2018 to enable us put together our half year report. The Ministry has so far provided data on ABFA allocations but has failed to release data on expenditure.
As a result, PIAC has not been able to meet its statutory reporting timeline of September 15th for the report in question,” Excepts of PIAC’s statement read.According to PIAC, they are dissatisfied with the response of the Ministry of Finance on how the funds were utilized.
Dr. Steve Manteaw, said PIAC is opened to all options in seeking redress including resorting to the Special Prosecutor’s office, Economic and Organised Crime Office [EOCO] as well as other state institutions.
“A number of options are opened to us including referring for audit investigations; of course we can also resort to the other state investigative bodies such as EOCO, special prosecutor office, and other institutions of state that have the the mandate to investigate matters of this nature.”
Dr. Steve Manteaw explained that although the Committee initially wrote to the Ministry of Finance for clarification on how the monies from the Annual Budget Funding Allocation [ABFA] 2017 have been used, the Ministry of Finance failed to reply PIAC’s letter and rather chose to respond in a Ghanaian Times Newspaper publication dated October 10th 2018.
According to Dr. Steve Manteaw, the response by the Ministry of Finance published in the Ghanaian Times newspaper is ‘unsatisfactory’, as it does not address the claims made by PIAC.
He further explained that PIAC has resolved to ‘relentlessly’ get to the bottom of the matter in the interest of the Ghanaian public.
“First, we have written to the Minister to give us an account of how ¢403.74 has been utilized. They haven’t responded to our letter, but we have seen the reply in the media to which we are actually responding to. The response we have seen in the media does not satisfy us. We want further and better particulars…. We suspect the monies may have been spent so we want to government to tell us how they have been spent and if they haven’t been spent we need evidence to the fact that this money is still being kept. On that note, we request the monies is returned to the petroleum holding fund for re-budgeting so that PIAC can track it’s utilization and report to citizens.”