News of diversion of $100m oil cash for unapproved spending is disconcerting – Mahama

Former President John Dramani Mahama has said that news that some $100 million has been diverted from petroleum funds for unapproved expenditure is most disconcerting.

The Minority in Parliament last week sent a stern warning to the Minister of Finance, Kenneth Ofori-Atta, to repatriate all funds accrued from the oil revenue into the Petroleum Holding Fund (PHF).

According to the Minority, government is acting contrary to the Petroleum Revenue Management Act (PRMA) as revenues are not being paid into the Fund.

The caucus alleged that monies accruing from oil sales from the Jubilee and TEN fields are being transferred to an off-shore company.

“The decision by the current NPP Government to transfer revenues accruing from about 944,164bbls of crude lifting in the Jubilee and TEN fields to a company established in a safe haven (outside Ghana) without Parliamentary approval, amounts to a gross violation of the Petroleum Revenue Management Act, 2011 (Act 815) and Public Financial Management Act (Act 921),” the Minority stated on Thursday, September 29.

The statement signed by Ranking Member on the Mines and Energy Committee John Abdulai Jinapor also alleged that Capital Gains Tax was not assessed and collected by the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) in the sale of the 7% interest by Anadarko in the Jubilee and TEN Fields in 2021.

Therefore, the Minority said about $100 million cannot be accounted for.

“This is surely another ‘Agyapa’ deal in the making and we as a Minority will not sit aloof for this Government to raid the national purse, especially at a time when the nation is struggling to raise much needed revenues for critical expenditure.

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“We demand that the Minister of Finance and for that matter Government, must with immediate effect repatriate all such illegal transfer payments back into the Petroleum Holding Fund (PHF).

“Failure to comply with our ultimatum will compel the Minority to use the necessary parliamentary processes to haul the Minister of Finance to parliament for possible censure.”

Commenting on this, Mr Mahama explained that Section 3 of the Peoruleum Revenue Management (PRMA) (Act 815) is explicit that all Petroleum revenue due the Republic derived from whatever source shall be assessed, collected and accounted for by the Ghana Revenue Authority.

Also referencing Section (15) of the Petroleum Exploration and Production Act (Act 919),  he said it states clearly that “Any borrowing exceeding the cedi equivalent of thirty million United States Dollars for the purpose of exploration, development and production shall be approved by Parliament and shall be in consonance with the Petroleum Revenue Management Act.”

Therefore, Mr Mahama said there can be no justification for diverting revenues accruing from the nation’s share of petroleum resources into any other account aside the PHF.

“The Minister for Finance must as a matter of urgency repatriate all such illegal payments back into the PHF without delay as there is no record to confirm parliamentary approval on any such loans acquired by GNPC in their work programme,” he said in a Facebook post on Monday October 3.

By Laud Nartey|3news.com|Ghana