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19.01.2007 Crime & Punishment


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Ghana Telecom’s determination to offer good services to its customers nationwide is reportedly being thwarted by persistent cable thefts in some parts of the country.

The company’s Ashanti Regional Public Relations Officer, Patience Maamle Asare, in an interview with the Times in Kumasi yesterday, gave a sad account of the cable theft situation.

She said about 400 telephone lines of the company in parts of Kumasi and its environs have been disrupted since the beginning of this year owing to the theft of underground and overhead telephone cables.

The worst affected areas in the Ashanti Region, according to the GT, are Ridge, Tafo-Nhyiaso, Pankrono, Buokrom, the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) campus, Fumesua and Obuasi.

Cables stolen from the KNUST campus alone is estimated to cost ¢100 million while the other affected areas are yet to be assessed.

What makes the situation alarming is the report that not less than eight customer lines in Kumasi go off every day because of cable thefts.

We recall that in June last year, about 2,000 fixed telephone lines belonging to individual and corporate subscribers in the Kumasi metropolis were said to have been disrupted within three months as a result of the wanton destruction of scores of overhead and underground cables by unidentified people.

In addition to this, it was found that overhead and underground telephone cables in some parts of the metropolis had been cut into pieces suggesting the work of saboteurs.

There is no doubt that the thefts and destruction of the cables are not limited to Kumasi and its environs alone but occur in other parts of the country.

The situation therefore calls for the application of more practical measures to deal with the cable thieves and those who deliberately destroy the cables in the various communities.

The seriousness of the situation demands that GT embarks on serious monitoring of its telephone lines and leave nothing to chance in the effort to ensure smooth operations and uninterrupted service to its subscribers.

We suggest that the management of GT looks within its confines to see whether some of its own employees are not involved in the cable thefts. This is because there have been reports of some staff colluding with outsiders to undertake illegal connections.

We believe that since GT relies on the public for good business and vice-versa, the people in the various communities must cooperate with the company in exposing the culprits instead of keeping quiet when others steal telephone cables to satisfy their selfish interest.

Cable thieves, like armed robbers, deserve no mercy and we trust that the law courts will not hesitate to ensure that the thieves face the full rigours of the law.

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