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PURC Spends GH₵99,000 On Christmas Hampers   
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Some members of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament are not happy with the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) for spending a colossal amount of GH₵99,663.000 on Christmas hampers in 2012

A 2012 report of the Auditor-General cited the Commission for violating the Financial Administration Act (FAR) after it failed to retire the said amount into the personal advance account of the imprest holder.

However, the Executive Secretary of the Commission, Samuel Sarpong, appearing before the PAC chaired by Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, Tuesday, told members that the Commission has rectified the anomaly in its 2013 accounts.

That aside, the Commission was mindful of the high cost of souvenirs on the market and therefore, went for a much lower cost Christmas hampers for its numerous stakeholders.

Below are excerpts of what transpired at Tuesday’s sitting between the PAC and the PURC.

PAC (Tetteh Chai):  It was stated an amount of GH₵99,663.00 was released for the purchase of Christmas hampers for the year ended December 2012. The amount that is GHC99, 663 for the purchase of hampers was not retired or adjusted to the personal advance account of the imprest holder. Instead the entire amount was expense at the end of the year in violation of the provision of the Financial Administration Act (FAR).  What happened that led to this violation?

PURC: The expense account cut across 2012 and beginning of 2013. So, it was not all completed within 2012. It was extended to 2013 and it was accounted for and dispensed in 2013 which is reflected in the 2013 account.

PAC (Tetteh Chai): So currently what is the situation?

PURC: It has been rectified in the 2013 account and it has reflected because we completed part of the transaction in 2012 and 2013.

PAC (Chairman Kwaku Agyeman-Manu): Auditors, any confirmation?

PURC: Honourable chairman, this is an outsource project. But unfortunately, the auditors are not here so we cannot speak to this particular issue.

PAC (Chairman Kwaku Agyeman Manu): Can we flag this part for confirmation?

PAC (Isaac Asiamah): Chairman, I think the amount is close to GHC100, 000.00 and are we to believe that it was spent on Christmas hampers.

PURC: Yes, about 330 pieces of Christmas hampers which is averaging GHC300.00.

PAC (Isaac Asiamah): Chairman, I think there was a directive that public institutions shouldn’t spend on Christmas hampers.

PURC: The directive came after.

PAC (Isaac Asiamah): But do you see it prudent to have spent this colossal amount on hampers for Christmas? PURC is it a prudent expenditure that you think it should be defended here? That is my worry. Why spend that amount on Christmas hampers? That is very disturbing, Mr. Chairman.

At this point the Chairman tries to restrict Mr. Asiamah and Tetteh from interrogating the matter further but his Vice, Samuel Atta Akyea intervened.

PAC (Samuel Atta Akyea): Chairman, I thought she was going to answer. He is saying that it is too colossal an expenditure and very much out of their core functions and statutory obligations. So, who were you trying to please, trying to dash all these kinds of things to people on Christmas? It is my chief concern, Mr. Chairman.

PURC: Honourable, what we do is that in the process, we give souvenirs and all kinds of things. But we gave … instead the cost of souvenirs were very expensive than giving out hampers to our stakeholders. As I have already answered, we deal with a lot of stakeholders across all breath in the county and the hampers was a way of reducing the cost involved in giving out other souvenirs. That is what we chose as our alternative in reducing the cost. And as I mentioned, we distributed about 300 of these with an average cost of about GHC300. As at the time the cost of this was about GHC2000 and we managed to do it at GHC300.00.

PAC (Isaac Asiamah): Chairman, I am still on this directive. The directive came before … may his soul rest in peace. Prof. Mills gave this directive … Please let us find out when that directive was given?

PAC (Chairman Kwaku Agyeman-Manu): Honourable Asiamah, can you allow the Chair. The Executive Secretary said the directive was given after they had distributed the hampers. You are saying that no it was given prior to this one. Now we cannot continue debating. So, let us try to find out and then put whatever we want to put in our report.
Source: kasapafmonline.com

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