PURC boss breaks silence; says “accountant asked him to put ¢450,000 into my account”

Executive Secretary of PURC, Samuel Sarpong.

The Executive Secretary of the Public Utilities and Regulatory Commission says the decision to transfer ¢450,000 into his personal account was not taken by him.

Samuel Sarpong, breaking his silence days after Joy News investigation into some questionable transactions at the utility regulator, said his Head of Finance advised him on some of the transactions which have become the subject of controversy.

Questions have been raised about the transfer of nearly half a million Ghana cedis into the personal accounts of PURC’s boss, Mr. Sarpong but he will not take responsibility for the anomaly – the head of Finance suggested the money be transferred into his account – he told Joy News.

He explained the PURC had a programme in Kumasi for which the money was earmarked.

However, the Head of Finance could not make it to the place because he had an examination to take resulting in suggestions to find a way to send the money. It was later resolved that the money be paid into his personal bank account.

“We bought a ticket for him to bring the money to Kumasi on Saturday. The ticket was bought and so the ticket even went wasted,” he told Joy News’ Kwettey Nartey.

In the first of a series of reports of an audit of financial records at the PURC, Joy News has intercepted curious expenditures.

An amount of GHC435,087 which was in two tranches were made into Mr Sarpong’s personal account. It was revealed the money was part of GHC1,225,000 paid to the PURC by five major utility companies for the 2013 tariff review hearings held nationwide.

The money was expected to be deposited into the account of the PURC; however, available documents indicate payment was not done.

Former Head of Finance at PURC, Isaac Assan said his action was dictated by the Executive Secretary.

However, Mr Sarpong is pointing the gun right back at Mr Assan whom he said took the decision to transfer the money.

He said his account was used because management of the Commission found it safe to do so.

“In places where he does not have exams, he brings money,” Mr Sarpong added.

But Chairman of Public Interest Accountability Committee (PIAC), Joe Winful said the action of PURC management points to the administrative flaws in the country.

“I had difficulty believing that somebody training to be an accountant…who mentioned that he was just taking instructions…apparently gave the advice,” he said.

He said the standard procedure is that before workshops are held, preparations are made months before to ensure that the necessary payments are made. This, he believes was not done in the case of the PURC.

“I am amaze that a whole Chief Executive is coordinating logistics,” he said, adding Mr Sarpong had no business to transfer money into his personal account.

This, he said is wrong charging government to strengthen the control mechanism at the various ministries and departments to ensure that money is duly accounted for.

–Joy News

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