30 June 2014

Ghana: Chief of Staff Stops Energy Minister

The Chief of Staff, Prosper Bani, has ordered the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum as a matter of urgency to dissolve the technical committee it instituted to probe the National Petroleum Authority's (NPA's) $63,000 monthly rent office building located at Cantonments in Accra.

Last week the committee was set up by the Minister of Energy and Petroleum, Emmanuel Kofi-Armah Buah, to investigate the alleged monthly payment of $63,000 for office space by the NPA. The Minister described the $63,000 a month office space for the Authority as not representing "prudent use of state resources".

The 5-member Committee was tasked with investigating among others the circumstances that led to the renting of the new offices and whether the cost per month was appropriate.

The committee was chaired by the Deputy Executive Secretary of the Narcotics Control Board (NACOB), Richard Nii Lante Blankson, with Alhaji Yahaya Yakubu of the Ministry of Works and Housing and Mrs. Anita Kokko, Senior Legal Officer of the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum (MoEP) as members.

Other members were Asare Gyamera, Estate Manager of MoEP and William Anthony, Assistant Engineer of MoEP, who is the secretary to the committee. Though Mr. Bani did not explain why he put a stop on the committee instituted by the Energy Minister, sources say the committee lacks the vim to unravel the matter.

The statement issued from the Flagstaff House in Accra yesterday by the Chief of Staff also asked the Energy Ministry to direct the NPA not to renew the rent agreement at the end of the current tenure, adding "the Presidency is reviewing the approval processes that went into the decision to commit state funds to rent an office when the upfront payment involved could have completed a permanent office building for the NPA."

It, therefore, cautioned other state-owned entities and their boards against decisions and actions that are not in the national interest and at variance with the principles and vision of His Excellency the President.

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