Minister Demands Explanations

The Energy and Petroleum Minister, Emma-nuel Buah, is demanding explanations from the National Petroleum Authority for renting an office which allegedly costs US$63,000 per month.

Buah said if proven to be true, the expenditure would have been an imprudent use of state funds.

A release signed by the Energy and Petroleum Ministry’s Deputy Head of Communications, Ras Liberty Amewode, quoted the Minister as saying: “According to the Minister, Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah, ‘if the NPA’s office was rented at $63,000 per month as has been reported, then that hardly represents prudent use of state resources, no matter how conducive or appropriate the facility is for their operations.’”

It said: “The Minister would be demanding from the Board and management of the NPA an explanation for such a decision, especially the consideration that went into a decision that runs at variance with the philosophy and preferences of His Excellency the President as far as the use of public funds are concerned.”

The NPA has already paid a year’s rent advance of US$756,000 for the plush East Legon property.

Its Public Relations Officer, Yaro Kasanbata justified the expenditure by saying a new office was needed because the old one had developed cracks in its walls and thus posed a threat to the safety of the Authority’s 200 work force.

Parliament has summoned the independent petroleum regulator, the Mines and Energy Committee, to answer questions on the rent expenditure.

According to the statement: “The Ministry of Energy and Petroleum has agreed with the public concerns on the high cost of the premises recently rented by the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) as offices,” adding that: “The public is assured that the Ministry will do everything possible to get to the bottom of this matter.”

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