GNPC blows GH¢5m on rent
The Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) has defied the order given by Parliament and gone ahead to rent an office space costing a whopping GH¢5 million for just a year.
The said office space, Dennis House, is located at Tema where the state-run oil company has its headquarters building.
The amount has raised eyebrows, with MPs suspecting a ‘create, loot and share’ brigade at play, especially when GNPC had been asked to desist from hiring a similar office complex in Accra at $40 million for a period of 10 years.
The corporation has been accused of spending Ghana’s oil cash in very questionable ways.
Officials of GNPC came to Parliament in December 2013 with details of how they were going to operate in 2014 and quoted $40 million in their budget as money that would be used to rent an office space for a period of 10 years, but the Committee of Mines and Energy in Parliament, after scrutinizing their accounts, said the money could be used to put up a permanent building to serve as offices of the GNPC in Accra near the Tullow head office, even though there is another office complex – Petroleum House – being used by the GNPC.
The New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament (MP) for Atwima Mponua, Isaac Asiamah, who made these known in his contribution to the president’s State of the Nation Address in Parliament on Friday, said the move by the GNPC was a gross disrespect to the authority of Parliament and that serious action must be taken against those who took the decision.
“They wanted to rent an office apartment and then we looked at their inflows and said No, you have more money so why can’t you acquire your own property, build an office so that it becomes the property of Ghana for generations to benefit from the office?” he said, adding that the officials unanimously agreed to the suggestion by parliamentarians and promised to build the office only for them to go ahead to rent a property which has cost the nation GH¢5 million.
“This is total disregard for Ghana’s Parliament,” he said.
In his contribution, the First Deputy Speaker, Ebo Barton-Odro, who was presiding, kept asking the MP for Atwima Mponua if he had any evidence to back his claim, to which Mr Asiamah replied in the affirmative and showed a copy of the tenancy agreement that was made available to members of the Mines and Energy Committee upon request.
The First Deputy Speaker said the document could be accepted only if it was an original copy or a certified true copy, but Mr Asiamah said as a member of the Mines and Energy Committee, he could testify that the document was genuine and that was why officials of GNPC brought it to them, arguing further that if the First Deputy Speaker doubted the authenticity of the document he could ask the chairman of the Committee or any member of it to authenticate the document.
Mr Barton-Odro still insisted on the originality of the document which generated heated argument between him, Isaac Asiamah, MP for Sekondi, Papa Owusu-Ankomah and MP for Old Tafo, Dr Anthony Akoto Osei.
Papa Owusu-Ankomah said having been in the House for 20 years, it had always been the practice for MPs to back their claims with authenticated documents which could be a photocopy or original and also name the source and that if the First Deputy Speaker was insisting on the original document then MPs’ hands would be tied and could not discharge their duties as well as its oversight responsibility.
The NPP MP was dissatisfied with the attitude of the First Deputy Speaker and told a section of the media after his contribution that he (Barton-Odro) acted strangely, adding that such attitude helps corruption to thrive in the country.
He said that it was the same attitude that resulted in huge debt that was paid to an individual.
“I think this is another form of ‘create, loot and share,” Mr Asiamah charged.