Ningo Prampram MP, Sam Nartey George is pushing for a probe the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) decision to donate about ¢5.4 million to the Economic and Organised Crimes Office (EOCO), Rebecca Foundation, Okyenhene, among others in the name of corporate social responsibility.
At Wednesday’s public sitting of the committee, Ningo Prampram MP Samuel George produced October 29, 2019 letter from GNPC’s board secretary Matilda Ohene to the CEO, communicating the board’s approval of the donations and sponsorships.
Some ¢400,000 went to support preparation for the Damba Festival, ¢300,000 to the 20th Anniversary Celebration of the Okyehene, 1.5 million Ghana cedis to the Okyehene’s environment and greening project, and ¢550,000 to EOCO.
The Rebecca Foundation got ¢120,000 while $30,000 to the Ghana Boxing Association and ¢50,000 was donated to the Ghana Journalists Association.
GNPC Deputy CEO Joseph Dadzie told the committee he did not have the full details of the issue as it is the GNPC Foundation which runs such sponsorship and donation activities.
This prompted Chairman of PAC James Avedzi to question why the GNPC Board was approving the donations instead of the GNPC Foundation’s Board of Trustees.
Tempers flared as NPP MP on the committee Mohammed Hardi Tufeiru intervened, questioning why the committee chairman was interrogating the issue when it’s not part of the 2017 Auditor General’s Report that the committee was looking at.
“You said they are appearing before the committee to answer to audit issues reported by the auditor general. They are not prepared for this matter you subjecting them to. Let’s be consistent with the application of the rule,” Tufeiru said.
James Avedzi in the midst of the heated exchanges dared the NPP MP to take over his position as chairman if he feels something wrong is being done.
“Honourable member, will you listen to me? I am the chair of the committee. What is your problem….If I approve public interest question, I don’t have the responsibility to tell you. I am the chair of the committee. If you want to take over, take over,” Mr Avedzi said.
Further questioning on the issue was halted after the exchanges. The chairman subsequently directed that the GNPC appears before the committee at a later date to respond to questions on the issues.
Ningo Prampram Sam George tells Joy News there is something wrong with the donations to EOCO, the Okyehene’s palace, and other entities, and there is the need for further probe.
“I don’t understand how EOCO which is a statutory body with a funding line under a different ministry; how giving ¢550,000 of GNPC money to EOCO is corporate social responsibility. After GNPC told the committee it was cash trapped,” Mr. George said.
“I asked them what the broad criteria for considering sponsorship is. They said areas of operation, education, and they gave the third one….¢1.8 million to the Okyehene to celebrate his 20th anniversary.
“I asked them, in what areas do you operate? They said along the coast and in the Volta Basin. Does the Okyehene’s chiefdom come under the Voltain basin?” Mr. George quizzed.
He wants to see the issue further interrogated.
“The fact that the GNPC cannot explain to the people’s representatives how it used those monies should give you cause for worry…
“We wait to see the leadership of the chairman. He says he will find the right platform for us to interrogate that issue properly. I am leaving that to the discretion of my leadership,” Mr. George said.
But NPP MP and Ranking Member on the committee Kofi Okyere Agyekum says the minority is pursuing political mischief since the issue is not captured in the 2017 Auditor General’s report.
“It was simply politicking and we must try and avoid those things…. The question was not appropriate,” he told Joy News.