PURC spent GH¢99,633 on hampers in 2012, PAC reveals

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament yesterday grilled the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) for spending GH¢99,663 on the purchase of Christmas hampers in 2012.

The purchase of the hampers was captured in the 2013 Auditor General’s Report, which indicated that the accountable imprest to purchase the Christmas hampers was not retired on time.

Members of the PAC said the purchase of the hampers was not warranted, considering the fact that the PURC was required mainly to protect the interest of consumers, and not to please anybody.

The Vice-Chairman of the committee, Mr Samuel Atta Akyea, wondered who the PURC wanted to please by spending GH¢99,663 on Christmas hampers.

He said such expenditure was needless.

Another member of the committee, Mr Isaac Asiamah, said: “Such expenditure is unwarranted from the PURC which is to protect the public interest.”

Directive on hampers

There was a disagreement between Mr Asiamah and the Executive Secretary of the PURC, Mr Samuel Sarpong, as to whether the purchase of the hampers preceded a government directive to state institutions not to share Christmas hampers.

Mr Asiamah insisted that it was the late President John Evans Atta Mills who gave the directive to state institutions not to purchase Christmas hampers.

That directive, he said, was before December 2012 when the hampers were bought.

But Mr Sarpong said the PURC made the purchases in December 2012 before the directive was given.

The Chairman, Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, brought the argument over the date of the directive to a closure because the facts could not be immediately verified.

Accountable imprest

Responding to the query on the non-retirement of the accountable imprest, Mr Sarpong said the PURC had fully retired the accountable imprest and that had subsequently been verified by external auditors in 2013.

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