Whatsup News has intercepted a Memo from the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) showing an expenditure from Ghana’s oil revenue totalling approximately GHC 5.5 million approved to be paid curiously to a number of private and non-governmental organisations in the country.
The approval is contained in an October 29, 2019 Memo reportedly signed by the GNPC Board Secretary, Matilda Ohene to the State upstream oil company’s Chief Executive. On the list include payments to the First Lady Rebecca Akufo Addo’s Foundation-Rebecca Foundation and taking the lion’s share of the money is the traditional Chief of the hometown of President Akufo Addo the Okyehene, Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panyin.
The Okyehen along has been greased with a staggering GHC 1.8 million from Ghana’s oil revenue to celebrate his 20th Anniversary (GHC 300,000). Another amount of GHC 1.5 million would additionally be paid to the Okyehene for “environment and greening” states the GNPC memo.
The First Lady’s Foundation will benefit GHC 120,000 from the largesse, while the Ghana Journalists Association, the Dagbon State’s Damba Festival, the Ghana Boxing Association and the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) would be given GHC 50,000, GHC 400,000, US$ 30,000 and GHC 550,000 respectfully.
“At the meeting of the 8th Board of GNPC, held on 25th October 2019, the Board approved the recommendation of the Brand, Communications and CSR Committee,” states the memo which has the signatory as Matilda Ohene.
A contact to GNPC to get confirmation of this controversial memo has not yielded any response yet.
Already, critics are wondering why the GNPC should be spending so much money on areas that are clearly outside their core business and also, why such spending to traditional authorities clearly omits traditional authorities from the Western Region where the entire bulk of Ghana’s oil wealth is being produced from.
Since 2016, Chiefs in the Western Region have asked for a development authority so that the area can benefit from its oil wealth, this call has been largely ignored by successive administrations as Ghana’s oil money increasingly get spent on phantom projects.
For instance, in 2017 and 2018, a staggering amount of US$ 655 million which was not spent in the Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA) from oil revenues disappeared into thin air. All calls by civil society groups for the Finance Ministry to account for the amount has fallen on deaf ears.
The latest spending spree of the GNPC is, therefore, coming in the heels of a recent call by the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) for a review of the GNPC Act, 1983, saying it will better define the mandate of the state oil corporation. Critics have raised red flags about GNPC’s appetite for misguided spending in the past decades, including sponsoring football tournaments and branding Ghana’s football teams.