Money in the hands of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) has become like confetti that the state-owned oil firm fritters, Ranking Member of the Mines and Energy Committee of Parliament, Mr. K.T. Hammond has said.
In his view, the corporation has become like a guaranteed bank operating a loan scheme.
Mr. Hammond’s accusations follow a successful attempt by minority MPs in blocking the approval of a GHS2 billion budget for the corporation on Thursday May 26.
The MPs questioned the logic in the corporation sourcing for a loan on the market when, at the same time, it was lending loans to some state institutions.
GNPC, mandated to undertake the exploration, production, and disposal of petroleum in the country, has been in the news, lately, for allegedly paying some former officials hefty emoluments against the advice of their legal counsel.
In an exclusive interview with Class News’ parliamentary correspondent Ekow Annan, Mr Hammond who is also the MP for Adansi Asokwa said the corporation was engrossed in activities outside its core mandate, and by so doing, squandering its resources.
“…I talked a lot about GNPC before 2001 and the recklessness, the lackadaisical attitude…, GNPC was not run properly. You need to have a look at the details of what went on. Those of us who were privileged to have had a good look of things that went on there… I remember GNPC with sadness what happened and, so, we, as much as possible, try to be careful to make sure that GNPC has a refocus, concentrate on their core activities, and not to extend their tentacles the way they did in the past,” he stated.
“But I do not know whether we are failing or not but, GNPC, we wish them well. They want to become very good, very lucrative…first class international company; yes, we will want to help them. But to what use are they putting public money that is given them,” the Adansi Asokwa legislator asked.
“We had met with the members of the board of the Tema Oil Refinery and the Chief Executive the last time… and I think they were patting themselves at the back that they were doing quite well.
“They have cleared all the TOR debt and all that and then we come to hear for the first time, the day before yesterday that GNPC has bailed out TOR to the tune of 58 or so million. We do not know about it, we have not heard about it.
“We know about the Karpower business, [where they gave] 100 million or something to them. I think GNPC has become a guarantee bank operating a loan scheme [and] we do not really understand….
“We do not understand this GNPC thing [and] how some of these decisions are taken. You will recall I raised it [when] so much money was given to people who have left the corporation so many years ago…money in their hands has become something like confetti, splashing it all over the place.
“We do not really understand. My colleagues were telling me, they are bailing this one out, they are bailing that one out…they told us when we first had this meeting with them that they may require more [money].
“Parliament had serious discussions with them and agreed they could have a sealing of about GHS40 million. They certainly think that oil is flowing so they want to do whatever they want to do.”
The former deputy energy minister advised government to take a decision to sanction people that spend money recklessly at GNPC.
According to him, parliament has no power to sanction because it is not the appointing authority and, therefore, called on the executive to deal with persons in charge of profligate expenditure at the corporation.