The Public Interest and Accountability Committee, (PIAC) has said the Ministry of Finance is deliberately pretending to be confused about the provisions of the law establishing the petroleum revenue management Act and its creation, the petroleum holding fund.
According chairman of PIAC, Dr. Steve Manteaw, excuses given by the Ministry of Finance on the whereabouts of some 403.74 million Ghana cedis of petroleum revenue are untenable and a deliberate attempt at ‘fooling’ the committee.
The Public Interest and Accountability Committee has been on government’s neck demanding to know the whereabouts of the money for some time now and held a press conference on Monday after the finance ministry indicated that the amount was sitting safe and secure in the treasury main account.
The explanation by the Ministry has been rejected by the committee which has demanded further and better particulars from the ministry in order to be able to proceed.
According to Dr. Manteaw, the committee does not believe the cash is sitting in the treasury main account because that account only holds money that is earmarked to be spent.
‘’The treasury main account is a creation of the public financial management Act, where all moneys earmarked for spending are kept’’ he said.
According to him, the committee is also a creation of law and would not relent on its mandate of accounting to the people of Ghana how monies accruing from the petroleum sector are being spent.
‘’The ministry’s understanding of the provisions of the law is different from ours. There seem to be some amount of confusion on the part of the ministry and we suspect that it is deliberate. Because the provision is explicit that where the money is not used, it should be returned to where it was taken from and that is the petroleum hold fund’’ he said.
He indicated that the committee would call for a meeting with the ministry to try and iron out the issues, adding that where they fail to arrive at a consensus and their demand for knowledge of where the money is fails, they would be compelled to go to the law courts to seek redress and an interpretation on what the provisions mean.