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General News of Tuesday, 16 May 2017


PURC Executive Secretary urged to step down amidst BNI probe

The Executive Secretary of the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC), Samuel Sarpong has been urged to step down following BNI probe into some questionable payments at the Commission.

The PURC Staff Union told Joy News Monday, Mr Sarpong's concentration on his responsibilities at the Commission is being interfered with as a result of the BNI investigation.

Chairman of the PURC Staff Union, Abukari Jabaru said "most planned programmes" of the Commission for the year are not being executed because the Executive Secretary who will give the directive is on a daily basis reporting at the BNI office.

"We were thinking he would be asked to step aside for one of the directors to take over [because] as it is now he is holding the progress of the Commission," he said.

The calls by the PURC workers follow Joy News interception of some documents on February 21, 2017 which revealed how some monies belonging to the Commission were transferred into a private account.

In one of the documents, the sum of GHC471,000 was transferred into the personal account of Mr Sarpong by the former Head of Finance, Isaac Kofi Hasan.

The money was collected in 2013 and 2015 from utility companies to fund a nationwide public meeting on the controversial review of utility tariffs in 2016.

Mr Kofi Hasan disclosed the directive for the transfer was issued by Mr Sarpong, but he has denied it.

The BNI began investigations into the issues following a petition sent to the Chief of Staff, Frema Opare by the workers of the Commission detailing some allegations of financial impropriety, victimisation and cronyism.

Joy News learnt Mr Sarpong, Head of PURC's Public Affairs, Nana Yaa Jantuah and at least 18 others were invited for questioning by the BNI.

The two heads together with the Accounts Manager had their passports seized by the BNI, reports said.

Mr Jabaru said Mr Sarpong has not been in his "right senses" since investigations into the questionable use of the Commission's money started.

"He is always on daily basis reporting at the BNI...the staff are not happy," he said.

He said the recent power outages in the country could have been surmounted if the Commission had rolled out its many programmes.