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04.04.2007 Crime & Punishment

Saboteur Burnt To Death

The increasing activities of cable thieves are thwarting the efforts of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) to provide electricity for its customers.

A source at the ECG Headquarters said last Saturday that one such cable thief got burnt behind the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) while attempting to steal electricity cables.

According to the source, the thieves had dug a trench of about 30 metres long and three feet deep to unearth a 33KV (high voltage) underground cable, resulting in the disconnection of power supply to Ashaiman and Tema.

He said the thieves apparently took advantage of the load-shedding programme but, unfortunately, luck ran out for one of them when he could not escape the high voltage cable buried underground as he attempted to cut it.

Four ECG workers who were at the main station 'H' to undertake the routine switching got hurt when the circuit breaker exploded as a result of the disruption caused by the thieves.

Two of the victims were treated and discharged at the Narh-Bita Hospital in Tema, while the other two who were seriously injured were rushed to the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra.

Fire fighters from the Ghana National Fire Service, the Volta River Authority and the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority put out the fire which resulted from the explosion.

In another development, two thieves who also stole 400 metres of aluminium conductors at Nkroful in the Nzema District of the Western Region are each serving a four-year term of imprisonment with hard labour.

Another suspected cable thief is in the grips of the police in Accra after a driver had caused his arrest.

In a statement, the Managing Director of the ECG, Mr Jude Osafo Adu-Amankwah, expressed concern about the activities of cable thieves, describing them as saboteurs.

The statement said the cables were very expensive and necessary for the improvement of the system to enable the company to deliver quality and safe supply of electricity to customers.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Energy, Mr Joseph Adda, with some of his directors and the Regional Director of the ECG, Tema, Mr Nicholas Smart-Yeboah, have visited the two ECG workers who got seriously burnt at station 'H'.

Messrs James Narh Alorbu and Anthony Adofo are currently receiving treatment at the Reconstructive Plastic Surgery and Burns Centre of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital.

Mr Adda was unhappy that at a time when the country was having the challenge of generating and supplying energy and workers of ECG were working hard, some unscrupulous Ghanaians were rather derailing their efforts.

He assured the two of the ministry's help and support and on behalf of the ministry presented each with some provisions and ¢2 million.

The Plastic Surgeon in-charge of the patients, Dr Anthony G. Liang, said they were “comfortable and making good progress”.

He said currently, it appeared that the burns received had not been severe and that all was being done to ensure their good recovery.

Dr Liang said the extent of the injuries would soon be made known when the bandages were removed and that was when doctors would be able to decide if plastic surgery was necessary.

He brought to the notice of the minister that the six-inch bandage that was used in dressing the burns cost ¢18,000 a piece, with the hospital spending about ¢500,000 on each dressing similar to what the two had received, while antibiotics used on the wounds were also expensive.

“Currently these are not covered by the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS),” he pointed out.

The Director of the Centre, Dr Albert Paintsil said under the NHIS reconstructive surgery was taken to mean cosmetic and was, therefore, not covered.

He added, however, that the Centre was in discussions with the NHIS to include plastic surgery as not all cases of plastic surgery was for cosmetic purposes.

Dr Paintsil said between 70 and 80 per cent of the work done at the centre was done to correct deformities after road and industrial accidents, burns and also correct deformities on babies, which made it important for it to be covered under the NHIS.

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