Dumsor: ECG board members reject PURC GH¢5.8m fine

Lawyers representing the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) board members are disputing the GH₵5.8 million fine imposed by Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC), arguing that targeting individuals oversteps the commission's authority.


They maintained that PURC's mandate allows fines on the company, not its board members, who aren't directly involved in daily operations.

While PURC justifies the fine by citing the board's strategic role, the attorneys argue that only principal officers, responsible for day-to-day management, can be held personally liable under the Act.

The lawyers additionally expressed concerns regarding due process violations, contending that the board members were not afforded an opportunity to present their case before the fine was levied, thereby violating principles of natural justice.

The board members of ECG who served from January 1 to March 18, 2024, including former Board Chair Keli Gadzekpo and current Managing Director Samuel Dubik Mahama, were fined GH¢5,868,000 by the PURC for violating Regulation 39 of L.I. 2413, which mandates prior notification to consumers before any power interruption.


In a letter dated March 18, 2024, PURC instructed ECG to release a load-shedding timetable by April 2, 2024, a directive that was flagrantly ignored without any explanation.

The ECG board members through their legal representatives are unequivocally refuting the fine and its ramifications, asserting that PURC's actions were unlawful and lacked proper authority.

ECG board members said "It is patently clear that under the said provision, the Commission can only impose a regulatory charge on a public utility. The Commission does not have the power/authority to purport to impose any regulatory charge on officers of the public utility. The Commission in purporting to impose the said regulatory charges on the Board Members of ECG clearly exceeded their jurisdiction as it is not within their powers/authority to do so.

"It must also be stated that the Electricity Company of Ghana Limited as a corporate body has a legal personality that is distinct from its Board Members. This is the very foundation of Company Law. The officers of the company cannot be held liable for the acts of the company.

"Lifting the veil of incorporation to go after the officers of the company can only be done in exceptional cases and can only done by a court of competent jurisdiction. The Commission’s lack of jurisdiction, power and/or authority to lift the veil of incorporation in the instant matter to purport to impose regulatory charges personally on the Board Members of ECG is strengthened by the provisions of Sections 38 & 42 of The Public Utilities Regulatory Commission Act, Act 538,1997.


"The Commission’s basis for holding the Board Members personally liable is because “These Board Members were at all material times responsible for providing strategic direction to ensure the provision of safe, adequate, efficient, reasonable and non-discriminatory service to consumers.

“As stated above, under Section 38 of Act 538 a default on the part of a public utility in the payment of a penalty may lead to the personal liability of a principal officer of the public utility. Under Section 49 of Act 538 a principal officer means the person responsible for the day-to-day administration of the affairs of the public utility.

"Board members of ECG are not responsible for the day-to-day administration of ECG and, therefore, are not principal officers within the intendment of Act 538 to be able to be held liable for a default on the part of the public utility ECG.

"The Commission’s Order imposing regulatory charges on the members of the Boards is unlawful, null and void as same is without jurisdiction. By this Order, the Commission has unlawfully clothed itself with the powers of the High Court, and imposed a sentence on the Board Members, without having been given the opportunity to be heard which amounts to a breach of the rules of natural justice. Our clients, therefore, reject the contents of the regulatory order relative to any personal liability on their part."


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