Members of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament were engaged in heated exchanges at their public hearing of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC)’s account.
The debate was over monies the GNPC had given to the Rebbecca Foundation, Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO) among other Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSR) activities embarked upon by the GNPC.
The other expenses by the GNPC include an amount of US1.8 million dollars paid for the celebration of Okyenhene’s 20th Anniversary; GH¢50,000 paid to the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA); US$30,000 to the Ghana Boxing Association; and a GH¢400,000 donated towards the preparations of the Damba Festival, totaling GH₵ 5.4 million cedis.
The expenditure raised eyebrows as MP for Ningo-Prampram, Sam George questioned the approval of such huge sums of money to an anti-corruption body like the EOCO and other entities without routing it through the GNPC Foundation.
Responding to the approval by the Board, Deputy CEO at GNPC, Joseph Dadzie said he couldn’t tell the basis for the approval by the board.
“Hon. Chair, I cannot speak for the board of GNPC but as I mentioned earlier, the Foundation has some thematic areas in which they carry out their activities, those are the umbrella under which the activities of the foundation are situated,” Joseph Dadzie told the PAC members.
“So I guess if there are any other requests that fall outside that of the Foundation and comes directly to GNPC, I don’t know the consideration or the basis of the consideration and like I said I am not a member of the board so I cannot speak to the specific issues,” he stressed.
The GNPC’s Board Secretary, Matilda Ohene who signed the memo was present at the Committee hearing but she struggled to justify the action by the board, resulting in a follow up from Chairman for the Committee, James Klutse Avedzi.
“Hon. Chairman, I only act on the instructions of the board and the memo was to formally inform the Chief Executive of the decision of the board but I can get the board to formally respond to this question,” Matilda Ohene stated.
The development was however greeted with disdain from Deputy Ranking Member of the Committee, Mohammed Hardi Tufeiru, who questioned why the Chairman allowed his colleague MP for Ningo-Prampram to ask such a question.
The unhappy member of the Committee, Mohammed Hardi Tufeiru objected to the further interrogations by the chairman on the subject matter.
“Chairman, they’re here to answer specific questions, they are appearing before the Committee to respond to Auditor General’s queries and they are not prepared for this matter you’re subjecting them through now,” the Nantong NPP MP angrily reacted.
“The rules are that we allow public interest questions; that is the rule. If I approved public interest question, I don’t have the responsibility to call you the deputy ranking member of the committee to tell you that I have approved this public interest question, if you want to take over, come and take over,” the Chair, Kluste Avedzi furiously responded.
“Chairman, let’s be consistent with the application of the rules,” Mohammed Hardi Tufeiru replied to the chairman of PAC.
“Deputy Chief Executive, I want this clarification to be made clear; the question we are asking is not about anybody’s interest, it is about the interest of the people of Ghana, if a member here thinks that we don’t have the right to ask this question I will end the discussion here but the people of Ghana will judge” James Avedzi emphasized.
“As an accountant and auditor, I need to know why certain things are done, if it is wrong we advised don’t do it again, if it is right we encouraged it to continue and somebody here thinks we’re doing it for politics, no,” James Avedzi who is also MP for Ketu North stated.
That development later brought proceedings to an abrupt end. Chairman of PAC, James Avedzi later adjourned proceedings to tomorrow.