The Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) has withdrawn from a partnership with the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) aimed at fighting corruption related to disbursement of petroleum revenue.
Ghextractives.com is learning the decision was taken after a review of the partnership by the newly sworn in board of PIAC.
Speaking at a media engagement on Saturday(13 November), Vice Chairman of PIAC Nasir Alfa Mohammed said they found some inherent challenges in the MOU with EOCO hence the decision.
“..Over the years the partnership had to be reviewed, we realised that we are dealing with a highly political sensitive organisation (EOCO) so there were internal members of PIAC who thought that we need to re evaluate the kind of relationship …,” he said
“For example , if you find somebody of an infraction of the law and then you give it to EOCO and for whatever reason the person happens to be a power broker , and EOCO comes out to do their investigations ….and nothing happened, now you are tight lipped …”
Mohammed added “So honestly the PIAC members now say that it is better to allow agencies to do their work, if they don’t… so it is better that we leave it for them to do their independent work , if they want to, that is their job … they dont really need us to come and tell them … so we are a bit careful about that arrangement that is how come.”
Listen to Nasir Alfa Mohammed
The Two state institutions, the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) and the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO), have officially agreed to work together to fight corruption relating to disbursement of petroleum revenue since 2011.
In view of that, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the two institutions on Monday, February 25, 2019, in Accra.
As part of the agreement, PIAC would among other things be required to furnish EOCO with accompanying documents that relate to publications, and where necessary it would avail itself to EOCO during investigations and also submit copies of reports highlighting sections that require further investigations.
For its part, EOCO would be required to update PIAC on progress of investigations that are related to matters referred to it by PIAC.
It shall also submit a formal report to PIAC upon conclusion of investigations referred to it by the latter.
Chairman of PIAC, Dr Steve Manteaw, said the MoU would help PIAC transition from a transparency institution to an accountability institution that would combat economic and organised crimes in managing petroleum revenues.
“Shedding light on what appears to be criminal conducts on the part of some public officials without holding such people to account does not serve the accountability mandate that may be inferred from our name.
“And yet our statutes of establishment did not provide us with the legal capacity to enforce our recommendations”, he said.
Dr Manteaw also indicated that the five-year agreement which is subject to annual review would not restrict the organisation from engaging in similar agreements or arrangements with other entities or government agencies.
For his part, the Executive Director of EOCO, ACP K.K. Amoah, said the issue of managing oil revenue had been problematic in many countries and for that matter paying more attention to discrepancies arising from such revenue was crucial to the country.
He pledged the commitment of the organisation in ensuring that substantive matters that were being investigated would be referred to the Attorney General for prosecution.