Stand-off with PIAC over oil money expenses not tantamount to corruption – Ken Ofori-Atta

The Finance Minister-nominee, Ken Ofori-Atta says his outfit’s delay in providing the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) with data on how the government expended the Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA) is not tantamount to corruption.

PIAC had accused the Ministry of failing to provide it with information on how the government spent the country’s oil revenue under the ABFA for four straight years.

The committee in its 2020 first-half report stated that: “this report does not contain information on Annual Budget Funding Amount utilization because the Ministry of Finance had not provided the data as at the time of publishing this report”.

In its recommendations, it called on Parliament “to bring its oversight mandate to bear on the Ministry of Finance.”

“This is because the Ministry’s persistent failure (fourth time) to provide half-year data on ABFA utilization is not only adversely affecting the work of the Committee, but also eroding gains in the fight for transparency and accountability in the management and use of Ghana’s petroleum revenues for the benefit of citizens,” PIAC captured in the report.

Responding to queries from the Appointments Committee on Thursday, March 25, 2021, Ofori-Atta said efforts have been put in place to iron out issues between his outfit and PIAC.

“We have had a series of meetings with PIAC to try and reconcile these numbers and I can assure the House (Parliament) that this is not tantamount to any type of corruption from the Ministry of Finance or the government in any way. So we should be clear on that.”

“Mr. Chairman, let me assure you that all these issues will be resolved and have a happy medium with PIAC going forward. There may be honest some mistakes, but there is no profligacy on our part or excess of arrogance as to the use of public money,” he added.

Akufo-Addo urges PIAC, Finance Ministry to resume regular collaboration

President Akufo-Addo on Wednesday urged the Finance Ministry and PIAC to resume their quarterly meetings.

The President said such meetings helped the government in its management of oil revenue.

President Akufo-Addo was speaking at the 10th-anniversary celebration of PIAC when he made this call.

“I will in conclusion urge the Ministry of Finance and PIAC to rekindle the holding of their quarterly meetings to ensure that issues of mutual interest are addressed through dialogue.”

He also stressed the need for PIAC to ensure the public has “a better understanding of how petroleum revenue resources are managed and clarify swiftly its position on matters should they be misconstrued in the media space”.

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