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Business News of Thursday, 24 May 2012

Source: GNA

Group urges Lushan Eternit Energy to rescind decision to sue PIAC Chairman, Ghanaian Times

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The Civil Society Platform on Oil and Gas on Thursday called on Lushan Eternit Energy Limited, an oil producing company, to rescind its decision of instituting legal action against Chairman of the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC), Major Daniel Ablorh Quarcoo (rtd) and the Ghanaian Times newspaper.

Lushan has 55% shares of the Saltpond Offshore Producing Company Limited (SOCPL) while Ghana National Petroleum Company (GNPC) has 45% shares.

Briefing the media to register the Group’s displeasure at the legal suit by Lushan, Dr. Steve Manteaw, Chairman of the Group, said the move by Lushan would only stifle the work of PIAC in its efforts to ensure accountability in the nation's oil revenue and hinder free reportage by the media.

It would be recalled that on May 17, PIAC launched its maiden report on payment of royalties and other activities by SOPCL which indicated that, there were no records to prove that revenues from oil production from the Saltpond fields had been paid into the Ghana Petroleum Holding Fund as demanded by law in 2011.

“Rather the payments were made into Government of Ghana Non-Tax Revenue Account of the Ministry of Finance, also, not all payments expected to go into the Ghana Petroleum Holding Fund were reported on,” he said.

He urged Lushan not to blame PIAC as it only came out with what was discovered in the discharge of its duties which were subsequently reported by the Ghanaian Times.

Dr. Manteaw expressed disappointment with Dr. Kwabena Duffour, the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, for his inability to ensure that Lushan followed due procedures by making the payments into the Ghana Petroleum Holding Fund as stipulated by law.

He appealed to Lushan to be more open to the public in its operations as it was impossible to obtain information from the company.

The Group therefore called for the immediate transfer of all monies held in the Government of Ghana Non-tax Revenue Account 02-230600660-00 in respect of the Saltpond Fields into the Petroleum Holding Fund, full disclosure of all payment to GNPC and GNPC’s payment to government in respect of its participation in the Saltpond project.

“We demand an explanation from the Finance Minister for his failure to report on the lifting and corresponding receipts and other payment on the operations of SOPCL, and why he condoned the continuous payment by Lushan into the Ministry’s non tax revenue account.”

The Group called for an audit report and publication of the volumes of production from the Saltpond fields, the revenues generated from the fields, and payments made to the State.**

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