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To ensure accountability of petroleum revenue: PIAC, EOCO launch joint probe

The Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) and the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) have joined forces to investigate the use of the country’s petroleum revenue and ensure accountability.

Under a five-year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), the PIAC would henceforth submit copies of its reports and accompanying documents to EOCO for further investigation, when launched.

The committee could also submit reports from 2011 when the country started realising petroleum revenue after five years of discovering oil, to the anti-graft institution to probe.

Additionally, the PIAC would assist with investigation, if needed while the EOCO would update the PIAC on the status of the investigation as well as furnish it with findings and intended actions, when done.

The Chairman of PIAC, Dr Steven Manteaw and the Executive Director of EOCO, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Kwesi Korankye Amoah (rtd) signed the MOU yesterday in Accra.

Speaking prior to this, Dr Manteaw said the tenure of MoU could be extended or truncated by the parties by written agreement while its provision and implementation could be reviewed annually.

The pact, he said would not prevent the committee from collaborating with other state and non-state entities on the same or similar agreement as the committee has intentions of doing.

He recounted that since it was set up in 2011, PIAC, had made findings and recommendations in reports, highlighting instances of misapplications and diversions of petroleum funds allocated to projects.

However, he said the desire of the committee to implement its recommendation had been hindered by its lack of legal capacity hence the collaboration with an institution that had the capacity.

“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,” he said.

Dr Manteaw described the alliance with EOCO as the beginning of transitional journey from transparency to accountability with respect to combating crimes relating to the management and use of oil revenue.

ACP Amoah, said the EOCO board approved the collaboration since it would further the anti-graft entity’s mandate of investigating various categories of crimes.

He said the EOCO had already initiated investigation into some reported cases from the PIAC and would delve into other cases when the PIAC submitted the necessary documents.

He said the doors of the office were open to organisations and individuals who would want to divulge information on wrong doings as the EOCO was prepared to investigate.

JONATHAN DONKOR

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