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General News of Thursday, 2 March 2017


Parliament's Energy Committee to probe alleged malfeasance at PURC

Parliament's Select Committee on Mines and Energy has summoned the Board of the Public Utility Regulatory Commission (PURC) over allegations of financial misappropriation.

Member of the Committee, Mohammed Mubarak Muntaka, said members do not want to rely on media reports concerning the allegations but want to investigate the matter.

He believes the allegations of mismanagement of funds would have been flagged by Parliaments Public Accounts Committee.

The Member of Parliament (MP) for Asawase added that "indeed if the allegations were true, the Auditors report would capture it to get Parliament's attention."

“One of my worries is that when such issues come up there is so much sensationalism so many things are thrown out there which sometimes makes it difficult to get a response."

The utility regulator has been in the news following Joy News Kwetey Nartey's investigation in which over GHC400,000 was transferred into the account of PURC Executive Director, Samuel Sarpong, by the Head of Finance.

The monies were collected in 2013 and 2015 from utility companies which according to the PURC documents intercepted by Joy News was to fund nationwide public meetings on controversial reviews of utility tariffs.

A senior staff of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) told Joy News part of the money was paid in cash to the PURC.

It was also revealed that a software the Commission procured at the cost of GHC200,000 does not work. A PURC staff who pleaded anonymity said the software given to them was only a demo.

The PURC Board had earlier on met the Committee Wednesday to tell members that it had conducted an independent investigation into previous allegations of malfeasance.

Joy News Parliamentary Correspondent, Joseph Opoku Gakpo, said the Board presented an audit report it has put together regarding the issues that are in the public domain.

He reported that another meeting has been scheduled to allow the Board members to share with the Committee what they found from their investigations.

Alhaji Muntaka said after the meeting on Friday and submission of a report by the Board, the Committee would take a decision if they would investigate further or they would want Parliament to investigate the matter.
“If it requires that something extraordinary has to be done, the Committee would recommend it to the House," he said.