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General News of Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Source: Myjoyonline.com

PURC workers in 'verbal coup' against embattled Executive Secretary

While battling the Bureau of National Investigations over allegations of financial misappropriations on one hand, the Executive Director of the Public Utility and Regulatory Commission is facing a verbal coup d'etat from workers on another.

Even though Samuel Sarpong is still in office as Executive Secretary, the workers union is demanding a "competent" head to steer affairs at the commission.

"Never again should we have such leadership," chairman of the Workers Union Abubakar Jabaru swore to Joy News, Tuesday, a day when the Director of Public Relations and External Affairs Nana Yaa Jantuah tendered in her resignation.

"We want a competent technical head at PURC...One who respects the workers and the stakeholders, not the one who will be dictating but not collaborating," he said.

"We need a new face who understands the regulatory work," he added.

The vigorous and vehement call for change at the Commission comes at a time when Mr Sarpong is entangled in a web of allegations of financial misappropriations.

On February 21, 2017, Joy News' investigative journalist Kwetey Nartey intercepted documents revealing acts of financial malfeasance at the Commission.

The documents uncovered payments of some GHC400,000 transferred into the personal account of PURC's Executive Secretary, Samuel Sarpong by the Head of Finance.

The money was said to have been used in funding nationwide public meetings on controversial reviews of utility tariffs.

The Executive Secretary, however, denied any wrongdoing adding, every penny paid into his account was accounted for.

It was also revealed that the Commission procured a software at a cost of GHC200,000 but was functional.

A PURC staff who pleaded anonymity said the software given to them was only a demo.

Mr Sarpong has since been at the centre of the investigations by the BNI, detained at some point but released.

Nana Yaa Jantuah who was vehement in her defence of the increases in utility prices was also cited for spending some ?120,000 on 350 hampers for Christmas.

She has tendered her resignation even though she still is under investigation.

Chairman of the Workers Union at the PURC Abubakar Jabaru confirmed the resignation but wants the Executive Secretary also out.