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FREEZE PDS ACCOUNTS

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…Financial Intelligence Centre Instructs Banks

By Adu Koranteng

The Financial Intelligence Center (FIC) in Ghana has directed all Rural Banks and Savings and Loans companies to immediately freeze all accounts belonging to PDS.

According to the FIC, the move is to ensure that law enforcement agencies conduct investigations into matters regarding breaches detected with the demand guarantee of the concession agreement of PDS.

Reports indicate that The Ministry of Finance is facilitating the de-freezing of accounts belonging to the Power Distribution Services (PDS).

A letter sighted from the Finance Ministry to PDS, ECG, Energy Commission, PURC and copied other sector institutions stated that: “The Ministry of Finance is currently facilitating the de-freezing of PDS accounts to ensure that there are funds to support the day-to-day operations.”

The Finance Ministry in the letter dated August 6, 2019 said the move is in “pursuant to the Energy Commission’s appointment of ECG as the interim operator of the electricity retail sales license in the southern distribution zone.”

The Finance Ministry said ECG will exercise oversight responsibility over the movement of funds from all PDS bank accounts, as part of measures put in place to ensure smooth operation.

“PDS will continue to operate their existing bank accounts. PDS must lodge all cash and cheques collections into the bank accounts intact. No staff of PDS is permitted to keep any cash/cheques collected.”

ECG must also be provided with detailed revenue collection and expenditure report on a weekly basis and the relevant bank statements “to support same at the close of business daily. ECG must approve all payments, transfers and disbursement of funds from the PDS bank accounts before they are effected.”

The Ministry said such approval must be provided by ECG within 24 hours of the request being made and shall not be unreasonably withheld.

“ECG must on a daily basis be furnished

[by PDS]

with details of outflows from the revenue accounts,” the letter added.

The Finance Ministry said the arrangement is not to undermine the authority of PDS to disburse funds but “to ensure transparency in the operations of the revenue accounts, which are to be controlled by ECG during the period that the suspension of the electricity sales license to PDS is in force.”

The government of Ghana on July 30, 2019 suspended a concession agreement with PDS for distribution of power in Ghana with immediate effect following what it said was the discovery “of fundamental and material breaches of PDS’ obligation in the provision of Payment Securities (Demand Guarantees).”

Government later announced that it had launched a full-scale inquiry into the breaches and a committee made up of experts comprising insurance investigation experts, officials of the Energy and Finance ministries and officials of the ECG and MIDA as well had 30 days to complete the probe.

PDS presented forged document – Amewu

Energy Minister, John Peter Amewu, subsequently said investigations conducted by the government had established that some of the documents presented by PDS as a guarantee for the takeover were forged

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