The Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) has disclosed that more than GHȼ99.8 million oil funds spent under a capacity building scheme by the erstwhile National Democratic Congress (NDC) government were used to bribe voters to retain the party in the 2012 general elections.
Chairman of the committee, Dr Steve Manteaw, stated that according to a report the capacity building was used as a smokescreen to pay off some voters, particularly young people.
He was speaking at a public forum organized by his outfit at Bechem, capital of the Tano South Municipality of the Brong-Ahafo Region, on the management of petroleum revenues and utilization – from 2011 to 2017.
The latest revelation mounts pressure on the erstwhile Mahama administration after a string of corruption allegations and non-existent so-called oil-funded projects it claimed to have completed in the three regions of the north.
Dr Manteaw explained that while GHȼ35 million of the supposed capacity building money was expended on MASLOC loanable funds, GHȼ8.1 million was squandered on livelihood enhancement against poverty (LEAP) and more than GHȼ4 million on skills training in road maintenance.
“Where are the people who were given skills training in road maintenance? How could a government give out capacity building money to be used as loanable funds?” he asked rhetorically and concluded that they were all meant to buy votes.
For him, it’s purely a misapplication of funds on the part of the then NDC administration to use GHȼ2 million of the oil revenue as support for the creative industry, questioning the validity of such support scheme to the detriment of priority areas.
The PIAC chairman revealed that the NDC government expended another GHȼ15.9 million of the oil revenue on the National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP) under the capacity building scheme.
Dr Manteaw was worried that the oil money, which is a complementary fund to support educational infrastructural funds and modernisation of agriculture, should be used recklessly.
He disclosed that per the ministry of finance’s report covering the period 2011 to 2016, an amount of GHȼ33 billion plus of oil revenue was given for distribution in the annual budgetary fund allocation.
This, according to him, was meant for agricultural modernisation, road and other infrastructure, expenditure and amortisation of loans, as well as GIIF, capacity building and operation of PIAC.