CSOs organise to fight corruption in extractive industries

Accra Dr Steve Manteaw, the Chairman of the Civil Society Platform on Oil and Gas (CSPOG), has said his group would partner with the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) to track the implementation of oil-funded projects across the country.

He said the CSPOG, under a STAR Ghana anti-corruption project, is developing a web-based portal to receive periodic project monitoring reports from its sub-national structures.

Dr Manteaw made this known in an interview with the Ghana News Agency on the side-lines of a meeting to validate the findings of a study on the typology and nature of corruption in Ghana’s extractive sector.

He said the initiative was intended to allow project beneficiaries to participate in monitoring the implementation of those projects and send feedback by way of photos, videos, voices and text messages to the portal for the necessary follow-up.

“And where the reports indicate a challenge with the implementation of any particular project, the system will flag it, and the Committee will then take steps to investigate matters,” he said.

Presenting preliminary findings of a study on corruption in the extractive sector to stakeholders, Mr Samuel Bekoe, an Extractive Governance Expert, disclosed that Ghana lost millions of dollars every year through various forms of corruption and illicit transactions in the mining, oil and gas sectors.

He expressed regret that some of the identified forms of corruption, such as influence peddling, insider trading, conflict of interest, and transfer pricing manipulations were not considered criminal under Ghanaian laws, in spite of the fact that international conventions to which Ghana has acceded criminalises those offences.

Mr Bekoe outlined some of the enabling factors of corruption in the industry as weaknesses in anti-corruption legislation, lack of financial support for anti-corruption agencies, and lack of coordination between the government and state agencies.

He, therefore, urged CSPOG to join forces with other anti-corruption civil society groups, with a view to expanding the scope of the ant-corruption campaign to include the extractive industry sector.

Mr Bekoe called for the push for the necessary policy, regulatory and institutional reforms to remove the risks of corruption in the sector.

The validation meeting drew participants from the Centre for Democratic Development, Ghana National Gas Company, Ghana Oil and Gas for Inclusive Growth, Ghana Revenue Authority and Minerals Commission.

The participants suggested that the exercise of discretionary powers given to public office holders should be checked to forestall any abuse.

Source: Ghana News Agency