The Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) and the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) have agreed to collaborate to protect Ghana’s petroleum revenues from embezzlement and financial abuse.
The two separate entities signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to back the agreement between them.
The collaboration between the PIAC and the Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO) which is to safeguard Ghana’s petroleum revenue from abuse is expected to last for 5 years, after which the two entities will review the progress made as well as the challenges encountered, to inform them on the next steps to take.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Dr. Steve Manteaw, Chairman of PIAC said it was not enough for his entity to just shed light on the wrongful use of Ghana’s petroleum revenue.
Pursuant to its mandate, PIAC has since 2011, made findings and recommendations in its Semi-Annual and Annual Reports highlighting, among others, instances of misapplication, misuse, and diversion of petroleum funds allocated to projects.
“For us at PIAC, shedding light on what appears to be criminal conduct on the part of some public officials, with respect to the use of petroleum revenues, without holding such people to account, does not in any way serve the accountability mandate that can be inferred from our name,” Dr. Manteaw said.
According to him, it was about PIAC’s transitioning from just focusing on transparency to accountability.
“To ensure accountability means holding people to account for their actions or inactions in terms of the management and prudent use of the petroleum revenues. The signing of this MoU means that we would ensure that people who may have abused petroleum revenues are held to account. So you would have a situation now where all our reports will now come with a cover letter referring particular cases to EOCO for further investigation and possible prosecution. We also intend as a team to go back as far back as 2011 when oil revenues started coming in and look at all possible instances of corruption which may have occurred and refer those cases to EOCO.”
On his part the Executive Director of the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO), ACP (Rtd) K.K. Amoah welcomed the opportunity to collaborate with PIAC to expand its scope of work, saying it will help in reducing corruption in that area of the extractive industry.
“The MoU serves as a very good document for us in the sense that it’s going to open up our scope of investigation. Per our law, that’s ACT 804 (2010), EOCO is mandated by law to investigate matters especially financial which affect the state. And therefore a few months ago when the boards of the two companies met a decision was arrived at to get the two entities to work together. We at EOCO have been looking forward to the signing of this MoU which will give us a push to carry out the work.”
The working relationship between the two organisations, will include but not limited to the following:
Following the publication of each report, PIAC shall:
- Invite EOCO to the launch of the report;
- Submit copies of the report to EOCO, highlighting relevant sections that require consideration and further investigation;
iii. Furnish EOCO with accompanying documents that relate to the highlighted sections;
- Avail itself to EOCO during the investigations, where and when necessary.
- EOCO shall update PIAC at regular intervals on the progress of its investigations on matters referred to it by PIAC.
- Upon the conclusion of its investigations into matters referred to it by PIAC, EOCO shall submit a formal report to PIAC highlighting its investigative findings and intended actions to deal with the issues presented.
The MoU will not restrict PIAC from participating in similar activities or arrangements with other entities or Government agencies. The MoU will last for a period of five (5) years from the date of signature unless revised, extended or terminated by the written agreement of the Parties.
During the tenure of the MoU, the Parties may review annually, the provisions of this MoU and its implementation.
By: Bobbie Osei/citibusinessnews.com/Ghana