Sogakope, Aug. 8, GNA - The inhabitants of Vume near Sogakope in the Volta Region had been denied potable water by officials of the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL), who rejected the quantity of coins the community offered in payment of their outstanding water bills and closed down all two stand pipes that serve them for about seven days.
The Sogakope GWCL officials demanded payment only in cedi notes, and until the officials of the Sogakope District Assembly intervened, the about 2,500 inhabitants including school children, relied on unhygienic sources of water for drinking and domestic uses for days.
The issue, which was captured in the minutes of the South Tongu District Assembly, came up for discussion at the two-day Second Ordinary Meeting of the Assembly on Friday at Sogakope.
The members of the Assembly condemned the action of the GWCL officials, saying, coins remain legal tenders, acceptable for the payment of any amount in the country.
Mr Patrick Adawukpor, the Presiding Member of the Assembly assured the members that the issue would be referred to the Anloga Area Manager of the GWCL.
Mr Edward Keteni, the Government appointee on the Assembly, who hails from and resident in Vume, popular for its ornamental pots, confirmed the story to the Ghana News Agency and said the community went through a hard time during the period.
He commended Miss Cate Aglah, the District Chief Executive (DCE) for saving the situation, adding "I could not understand why GWCL officials should refuse coins, which are also legal tenders in payment of water bills by communities and go on to disconnect them."
When contacted later, Mr Paul Tsekumah, the Sogakope District GWCL Commercial Manager confirmed the disconnection issue, but said it was not coins-related, but rather due to non-payment of bills of about 99,000 cedis accumulated from April to June, this year.
Mr Tsekumah confirmed to the GNA that, he personally led the team that did the disconnection, and admitted also that, his outfit has problems in the handling of coins and so asked beneficiary communities to change coins into notes for the payment of their bills.
"I admit that my outfit asked beneficiary communities to change coins into notes for payment of bills to GWCL on the basis that some banks do not receive coins deposit", he explained.
He however, insisted that they did not reject any coins from the Vume community water vendor, adding, the District Assembly's version of the story was untrue.
Miss Cate Aglah, the DCE, opening the meeting, reminded members and the District Security Committee (DISEC) to work harder as non-partisan bodies to ensure that, the peace being experienced in the district currently was maintained, more especially in the countdown to the election 2004.
She said dozens of projects made up of feeder roads, school structures, accommodation facilities for nurses and teachers as well as sanitation facilities are due for execution under the EU Micro Project support, HIPC projects, DANIDA assisted project and the District Common Fund projects in a number of communities.
In another development, Miss Aglah presented 21 wheel chairs donated by Latter Day Saints Charities, the charity mouthpiece of Church of the Latter Day Saints, at a total cost of about 75 million cedis to 21 disabled persons, including a pupil on Friday at Sogakope.
She advised the beneficiaries to maintain the chairs to continuously enhance their movements in their daily activities, adding, they needed to understand that they are also capable of anything.