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General News of Friday, 10 March 2017


Parliament summons PURC boss, Yaa Jantuah over questionable payments

Parliament’s Mines and Energy Committee has summoned management of the Public Utility Regulatory Commission (PURC) Thursday following Joy News expose on some questionable payments.

PURC Executive Secretary, Samuel Sarpong, and Head of External Affairs, Nana Yaa Jantuah were quizzed about how they expended the Commission’s monies for its nationwide tariff adjustment public hearing.

They explained to the Committee the monies were used for the intended purposes.

Former Head of Finance at the PURC, Isaac Hasan, was also invited to answer questions regarding his role in the payment of close to half a million cedis into the private accounts of Mr Sarpong.

He maintained the PURC boss instructed him to do the payment, despite a contrary view by Mr Sarpong.

Joy News investigations uncovered some questionable payment at the PURC in which an amount of GHC450,000 meant for public hearings on tariff adjustments was first paid into the private account of the PURC boss for disbursement.

Another document intercepted by Joy News also revealed the PURC spent over $32,000 on the two weeks trip of the board chairman, Dr Emmnuel Annan.

The Commission had budgeted $6,084 for the chairman’s hotel accommodation from 30th June to 13th July 2013.

Also, the amount of $1,400 was allocated for his meals, $7,000 for his per diem, $2,000 for his travel time, and $500 for his clothing. The amount of $2,000 was budgeted for his internal transportation and $3,000 for travel protocol, $2,000 for miscellaneous and $8,500 for airfare.

PURC has explained the trip was to afford Dr Annan the opportunity to study the national utilities regulatory commission in the United States.

In a chat with Joy News investigative journalist, Mr Sarpong said the trip was important since it will improve the capacity of the board chairman to steer the affairs of the Commission.

“He has not been travelling,” he said, adding among all the Commissioners, Dr Annan does not like foreign trips.

He said because the trip was part of the Commission’s programme, the board Chairman had to travel to understudy what the U.S. Utilities Regulatory Commission does.

It is not clear yet, what line of action, the Mines and Energy Committee of Parliament intends to take.