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23.01.2012 Business & Finance

ECG exposé: Over GHC400 million owed by big companies

By Daily Guide
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'We have enough power for our immediate needs from the Volta Dam and for the Aluminum smelter which VALCO is now constructing at Tema. But we are ready and prepared to supply power to our neighbors in Dahomey, the Ivory Coast and the Upper Volta. As far as I am concerned this project is not for Ghana alone. Indeed, I have already offered to share our power resources with our sister African states. '

That was the ambitious speech of the visionary leader of a young and promising country at the inauguration of the Akosombo Dam on January 22, 1966. The country has since proceeded to establish the ancillary Electricity Company of Ghana in a bid to provide itself with sustainable electric energy resource that would help the young nation launch itself as a regional industrial model.

Unfortunately, the Electricity Company of Ghana has in recent times gone down the disastrous path of most of Osagyefo's prized legacies. Indeed, the company has of late been in a troubled state, tottering its way into all sorts of turmoil and turbulence. It is also an open secret that some fishy deals litter the 'corridors of power. ' Having flung the doors wider open, the Weekend Crusading Guide can confirm that incompetence, corruption and downright thievery have been at the heart of the tragedy that has hit the ECG.

Our man went undercover as a worker in the ECG corridors, the debacle was a multi-faceted, systemic breakdown of processes and procedures. This endemic failure allows officials to indulge in financial impropriety and fill their pockets with money that should accrue into the state coffers. Uncollected electricity bill to the tune 400,070,000 (Four hundred million and seventy thousand Ghana cedis), over 300 million US dollars.

Beyond the corruption within the lower rungs of the ECG, there are bigger and murkier issues to unravel within the board room of the ailing state asset. So bad is the situation that unofficial ECG employees (popularly referred to as 'gorro boys') have always shown up at the corruption party and and even the crumbs have been a genial feast.

The situation becomes even more disheartening when considered against the backdrop of the frequent increases in electricity tariffs, not to talk of the epileptic supply that the poor domestic consumer and small scale business have had to endure over the years. In other words, consumers have become helpless victims of the chaos and greed that reign at the ECG.

The fallout from President, John Evans Atta Mills' unannounced visit to the ECG back in April 2010, provoked the TIGER EYE special investigative team into action.

Led by ace investigative journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas, a team of investigators infiltrated the ECG, and unraveled massive corruption at different levels of the Company.

The team strategically pitched camp in four areas of the ECG system: Tema North, Tema South, Afienya, Kwabenya and Legon . The evidence we uncovered over the period is worth telling for the sake of God and country. God bless our homeland Ghana.

Meters are the physical component of the electronic gadgets that record a customer's consumption of electrical power supply. But as we found out, acquiring it legally is the exception to the rule.

The meters were a hotspot and the center of corrupt practices; you may call it a goldmine for officials at the ECG.

who fleece frustrated customers before rendering any meter related service to them.

Our painstaking investigation caught officials on our hidden cameras stationed at vantage points within the ECG, plainly stealing state and company property to sell to customers.

Meters, which by all accounts are customized company material, are stolen and sold like tomatoes on the open market as are ECG cables some of which we purchased from an official of the Tema North branch.

The investigative team uncovered corrupt practices that started right at the point of submitting meter acquisition forms for registration. This turned out to be the lowest level of the bribery ladder where officials take 'colas' ranging between GH¢ 5 and GH¢ 10.

A case in point is the Kwabneya Branch of ECG where the Leopard Team of TIGER EYE managed to secure a three phase meter at the cost of GH¢ 600 (six million old cedis) from an ECG official.

This however came after fierce negotiations with a top official who also asked us to deal with another official. Indeed there is competition for customers applying for meters. Officials across the ECG hardly take their bribes within the premises preferring to do their shady business outside.

The repository for stolen meters awaiting delivery to customers is rather curious. At the Kwabenya branch for example, stolen meters were kept either in washrooms or in the workers' canteen.

Source: New Crusading Guide

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