The African Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) has called on Parliament to treat more seriously reports published by the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC).
According to the Think-Thank, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament must treat the reports of PIAC the same way it does to the Auditor-General’s report.
“There is a missing link; nobody is accountable to anybody; if Parliament fails to interrogate PIAC reports, every year we will hear some of these stories about diversion of funds into other areas in the name of capacity building,” Head of Policy Unit at ACEP told this paper in an interview.
Following the yearly reports of misappropriation of oil revenue, some experts have called for PIAC to be given powers to prosecute heads of institutions that are found culpable. But ACEP believes extending the mandate of PIAC to prosecute defaulters will rather overburden the committee in exposing instances of misallocation of revenue.
“I do not think that PIAC needs powers; what they need is to continue to do what they are doing and probably strengthen them to do it better. The law that set them up recognizes PIAC as an advisory committee to Parliament so whatever report they issue they have to hand over to Parliament for action to be taken,” Deputy Director of ACEP, Benjamin Boakye remarked.
The call for more powers to the PIAC was brought to the fore during the launch of the 2015 Annual report of the Committee.
It also follows the apparent recurrence of some irregularities due to the delays in the implementation of recommendations.
But Mr Boakye explained that granting such powers will interfere in Parliament’s role of ensuring that it protects the public coffers.
“Parliament has the PAC that can look at the report and call people to question them so the modalities are clear I do not think we should add unto the work of PIAC beyond engaging the public and picking feedback and alerting government on what the wrongs are in relative to the management of our resources,” he further noted.