The Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) cannot trace the directors of 23 companies that are indebted to it to the tune of millions of Ghana cedis.
The 23 companies — which are not operating — are mostly steel firms, and are part of 27 companies that were indebted to the ECG to the tune of GH¢27 million.
Three of the companies have, however, made arrangements to pay, while one has settled its indebtedness to the ECG.
So far, only GH¢860,000 out of the GH¢27 million has been recovered.
The General Manager, Legal ,of the ECG, Ben Danquah, said this when the company appeared before the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament last Monday.
The committee is sitting to consider the report of the Auditor General on the public accounts of Ghana for public boards, corporations and other statutory institutions.
Mr Danquah said when the ECG realised that it would have to pay filing fees and substituted service by going through the normal legal process with no guaranteed results, it sought the services of debt collectors who had the ability to trace the directors.
“Unfortunately, we have not even been able to trace the directors behind the companies, so the next step we are looking at is publishing the companies, and management has also advised that we seek the help of National Security, especially the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO), to try and trace the directors behind the companies.
“We don’t intend to publish the accounts with the directors’ names because of privacy issues, but we intend to give the accounts plus the directors that, per our records, are behind the companies to EOCO to assist us,” he emphasised.
When the Chairman of the PAC, Dr James Klutse Avedzi, asked why the ECG was able to retrieve only GH¢860,000 out of the total amount, Mr Danquah said because the companies had closed their shops it was difficult to trace them.
He said usually the accounts were managed at the regional level over time before they were transferred for legal recovery, especially when they had become sticky.
“Unfortunately, in this case when they were brought, most of the companies had closed shop, so it became difficult for us to chase them,” he explained.
Asked whether the committee should apply the law for the failure of the ECG to collect the non-tax revenue, the Deputy Managing Director in charge of Engineering and Operations, Samuel Adjidjonu, pleaded with the committee to be given a little more time as the matter had been referred to EOCO to pursue it.
He said some of the steel companies, including Wahome and Special Steel ,had folded up, and that the ECG had disconnected its network from their facilities and so there was no possibility of them utilising the supply any more.
The committee subsequently told the ECG to take action on the matter within a month.
“In fact, within two weeks, report to the auditors what action you have taken,” Dr Avedzi told the ECG team.
Appearing at the committee sitting were some public tertiary institutions, including the University of Ghana, the University of Professional Studies, Accra, the University of Cape Coast (UCC), the University of Education, Winneba, the National Film and Television Institution, the National Service Scheme and the Ghana Academy of Arts and Science.
Asked what had accounted for the increase in its internally-generated fund (IGF), the Vice-Chancellor of the UPSA, Prof. Abednego F.O. Amartey, said it was mainly as a result of students’ enrolment.
According to him, enrolment increased by about 50 per cent due to the huge demand for admissions.
Accompanied by the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Nana Aba Appiah Amfo, and other officials, the Director of Finance of the University of Ghana, Bernice Agudu told the committee that the institution was trying to improve its financial position.
The Director of Finance of the UCC, Elizabeth Obese, said the university had not been able to secure the title deeds for the diagnostic centre at the Cape Coast Teaching Hospital.
She said the property donated to the university in 2012 was situated on the hospital land and so it was difficult for the university to get a title to it.
However, she said there was memorandum of understanding between the hospital and the university guiding the operations of the centre.