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Business News of Monday, 27 February 2017


PURC pays almost ¢450,000 into boss' personal account

Joy News has uncovered questionable payments at utilities regulators, the Public Utilities and Regulatory Commission (PURC).

The findings include the transfer of close to half a million cedis into the personal account of the Executive Secretary of PURC, Samuel Sarpong.

In the first of a series of reports of an audit of financial records at the Commission, Joy News’ Kwetey Nettey, reports that some curious expenditure has been noticed.

An amount of GH¢435, 087, made up two separate transfers were made into the personal accounts of the Executive Secretary of PURC, Samuel Sarpong.

The money was part of GHC 1, 225, 000 paid by five major utility companies to the PURC for the 2013 tariff review hearings nationwide.

The funds were supposed to be lodged in the account of the PURC, however, documents sighted by Joy News indicate that GHC271, 500 was paid into Mr. Sarpong's accounts.

Details of the deposit voucher reveal the money was paid on February 16, 2013 at the Gulf House Branch of ADB.

Former Head of Finance at PURC, Isaac Assan, who made the payments into the account, said he did this on the instructions of the Executive Secretary.

Another payment of GH¢163, 587 was also made into Mr. Sarpong’s Gulf House account on June 7, 2013. Mr. Assan told Kwetey Nettey that although it is not the norm for a public institution to transfer money into private accounts of an official, his boss thought it was convenient.

An internal memo dated June 5, 2013 intercepted by Joy News reveals that PURC approved GHc164,000 to cover expenses of stakeholder consultation on tariff review with chiefs in Kumasi.

Key expenses for that programme were over 86,000 paid as per diem and allowances, 32,000 cedis for hotel accommodation, and 20,000 as protocol payment to Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II.

Former Head of Finance at PURC, Isaac Assan concurs some of these practices breached the Financial Regulation Act.

Joy News sought to speak to officials at the PURC but they declined comment. Head of PR and External Affairs of the Commission, Nana Yaa Jantuah said her God would speak for her.

In 2015, GHC1.7 million cedis was paid by the utility companies to support major tariff review hearing nationwide.

A senior staff at ECG tells Joy News some of the monies were paid in cash to the PURC for the public hearings.

Documents in possession of Joy News indicate that part of this amount paid by the utility companies to support tariff review hearings cannot be traced to the commission’s account.

Mr Assan, who is a former head of finance at the PURC, believes an investigation is required to clear to some of the issues the auditors found.