The Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) and the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) have entered into a deal to jointly investigate the use of the country’s petroleum revenue to ensure accountability.
According to the two institutions, under a five-year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), PIAC would henceforth submit copies of its reports and accompanying documents to EOCO for further investigations.
They have also agreed that the PIAC could submit reports from 2011 when the country started realising petroleum revenue to the EOCO to probe.
Furthermore, the PIAC would assist with investigation, if needed while the EOCO would update and furnish the committee with findings and intended actions on completion of work.
Although there are other provisions under the MoU which the two institutions must adhere to, to justify the continuation of the partnership, the Ghanaian Times believes that the collaboration by the two institutions is in the best interest of the country.
This is because since its establishment in 2011, we have observed that PIAC recommendations in its reports have remained on the shelves.
Recounting its own challenges, Dr Steven Manteaw said since it was set up in 2011, PIAC had made findings and recommendations in its reports, highlighting instances of misapplications and diversions of petroleum funds allocated to projects but lacked the legal capacity to implement its recommendations.
“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.
For PIAC, the alliance with EOCO is the beginning of holding public officials to account in respect of combating crimes relating to the management and use of oil revenue.
We see the collaboration as a huge step towards the fight against graft in the management of the country’s oil revenue.
Although we readily do not have any evidence of misuse of the country’s oil revenue, the mere setting up of the joint probe would enable PIAC implement its recommendations.
It would also serve as a preventive measure to deter public officials from misusing the oil revenue.
Furthermore, the collaboration would now allow PIAC to hold officials to account and those found culpable to face the law.
We commend the two institutions for the collaboration and hope that it would be beneficial to the entire country.