The Public Utilities and Regulatory Commission (PURC) says its attention has been drawn to the circulation of an anonymous document concerning monies that have been allegedly spent unlawfully by the Commission.
In a recent press statement, PURC said no staff has so far claimed to be a member of the so-called “Concerned Group of Staff of PURC” which circulated the false information.
In spite of the anonymity of the document, the Commission said it set up a fact-finding committee to investigate the matter, a report of which was adopted on 7th March 2017.
Transfer of money
Extracts of the report served to relevant authorities touched on the transfer of money into the personal account of Samuel Sarpong, its Executive Secretary.
“With respect to this issue, the Committee found that the then Head of Finance, Mr Isaac Kofi Assan advised the Executive Secretary to use his account for the transfer of the money for public hearings in the year 2013. According to Mr. Isaac Kofi Assan, it was the best and most practicable way to get the money to the public hearing team that was already in Kumasi for the public hearings in Ashanti, Brong Ahafo, Northern and Upper East Regions.
The Committee found that all levels of authorization (i.e. Directors, Managers, and Officers) duly involved in the various approval processes from request for payments to approvals, disbursements and retirements were properly done and duly accounted for.
The Committee, it disclosed, also found that the use of the Executive Secretary’s bank account was done at the convenience of Isaac Assan, who could not deliver the money to Kumasi because he was writing his professional examination that weekend.
He also disclosed that the money was cashed from the bank late on Friday evening and could only be transported through that account considering the additional risk of transporting the money physically.
Imprest for Organised Labour
The Committee investigated the allegation that “though Organized Labour (TUC) boycotted the 2013 Major Tariff Review Public Hearings, the amount allocated was not refunded.
“The Committee found that this allegation was not true and that the programme took place despite the TUC’s boycott. However, the portion of the TUC imprest amounting to GHS 40,000.00 was duly refunded by the disbursement officer for the function and a receipt issued by the finance department.”
Dayzer Ghana model software
The Committee established that the allegations surrounding the procurement of the Dayzer Software was incorrect.
It was well established that the Dayzer Software was procured during the tenure of Stephen Adu, the then Executive Secretary of the PURC, before Samuel Sarpong became the Executive Secretary.
Evidence was also provided to confirm that the Procurement of the Software went through due process and the sole sourcing of the software was duly authorized by the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) in June 2012.
The Committee also established that the software had been installed in the Energy Directorate of the Commission, where it was functionally being used for the technical operations of the PURC.
“The allegations on the Christmas hampers relates to the Christmas Hampers for the year 2012 before the President John Dramani Mahama in December 2013 directed all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to desist from using public resources for Christmas and New Year gifts by a letter from the Office of the President and signed by the Executive Secretary to the President, Dr. Raymond Atuguba.
“Since this directive was issued no Christmas Hampers have been distributed by the Commission.”
Commenting on the protocol for Muslim Parliamentarians, workshop on natural gas transportation pricing, 2013, 2015 public hearings, protocol, foreign travel and workshop on automatic adjustment formula for media, PURC said the committee found that the processes and procedures were in conformity with its standard operating procedures.
“All levels of authorization (i.e. Directors, Managers, and Officers) duly involved in the various approval processes from request for payments to approvals, disbursements and retirements were properly done and duly accounted for.
“Amounts expended were used for the purposes for which they were requested. In instances where procedural issues were raised, these were presented to the Audit Report Implementation Committee (ARIC) and dealt with in the audit by the external auditors. To avoid such occurrences in the future, the ARIC and the External Auditors recommended the opening of regional accounts of the PURC to enhance financial operations which have been complied with.”
By Samuel Boadi