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Parliament’s Energy Committee summons PURC over alleged malfeasance

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

Joy News’ understands members of the commission’s board will be in parliament on Friday to meet the committee.

The utility regulator has been in the news following Joy News’ Kwetey Nartey’s investigation which uncovered that over GHC400,000 was transferred into the account of PURC’s Executive Secretary, 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.

Joy News’ Parliamentary Correspondent Joseph Opoku Gakpo reports the meeting scheduled for Friday will allow the board to present to the committee details of an audit the board ordered into the operations of the PURC management when such allegations of malfeasance came up a few years.

A decision on whether parliament should investigate the issue is expected to be taken after that meeting with the board and an examination of the audit report by members of the Energy Committee.

In a related development, a Member of the Energy Committee and MP for Asawase Mohammed Mubarak Muntaka has told Joy News the allegations, if true, will definitely be flagged by the auditor general’s report and be dealt with appropriately at the level of the Public Accounts Committee.

He is however worried that such allegations are usually crowded by too much sensationalism making it difficult to get to the bottom of the issue.

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

The Asawase MP, however, says the Energy Committee has the capacity to investigate the issue, after which if it is necessary that it makes further recommendations to the Speaker on it, members will do so.

Source:   http://www.myjoyonline.com/politics/2017/March-2nd/parliaments-energy-committee-summons-purc-over-alleged-malfeasance.php

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