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Regional News of Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Source: Daily Guide

ECG Chinese contractors accused of alleged metre fraud

Some concerned citizens of Somanya in the Lower Manya Krobo Municipality are pointing accusing fingers at some Chinese workers of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) and some assemblymen for alleged metre fraud.

Sources who spoke to DAILY GUIDE on condition of anonymity said somewhere in 2010, they made contributions of GHc35 each to the ECG through some selected persons including some assemblymen.

The contribution, according to them, was mandatory under the self-help electrification pilot project towards the provision of prepaid metres.

The metres, they added, were made available for distribution after several years of waiting.

“Elated registered contributors had looked forward to receiving their metres in order to lighten their homes and end the use of lanterns as well as candles which could even cause fire outbreak in their homes, but the more they hoped, the farther their dreams seem to be,” they stated.

“My sister, our story has become like the biblical Moses; we are seeing the metres being installed for others instead of us,” a resident claimed.

He indicated that some assemblymen in the area, as well as some opinion leaders, had allegedly connived with some Chinese contractors to sell the prepaid metres between GHc50 and GHc300, instead of GHc35.

The concerned persons said they felt cheated and thought of bringing the anomaly to the attention of the public and government.

They threatened a demonstration against the local authorities for allegedly using the Chinese to defraud them.

“Quite recently, the Chinese and their counterparts raised over GHc15,000 being booty from the corrupt practices which they shared amongst themselves,” a source alleged.

Foster Okala, a former Assemblyman for Agormanya South Electoral Area, Christian Goka, foreman and Daniel Nartey, Assemblyman for Abease Electoral Area, were accused of collecting GHc5,800 and GHc10,500 from the new buyers at different times.

However, Foster Okala denied knowledge of the accusation being levelled against them.

He explained that, in 2010, the self-help electrification project registered people in his area and elsewhere in the Lower Manga Krobo Municipality at a fee of GHc35.

Delivery of the metres took so long and some of the people had to get their own metres from ECG directly.

When the metres were finally delivered somewhere November 2013, the Chinese, who were the contractors for the job said once there was a metre in a house, they could not fix another, even though the person might have paid for it.

This, he said, necessitated a stakeholders’ meeting during which a decision was arrived that a registered member who already had a metre could either take it to his shop or any other property or look for another person he wished the metre should be installed for.

The Chinese maintained that any uninstalled metre would have to be returned.

According to Foster, this made persons who already owned metres seek for prospective buyers whom they sold their metres to.

Asked how much the metres were sold for, he said he did not know since the sale was strictly between the former owner and the new owner.

He said in one of the electoral areas, the team who registered the members of the community embezzled the funds so their names were not captured for the supply of the device.

“Oblivious of what had happened to their money, they have been speculating that their metres are being installed for others. But that is not the case,” he posited, stressing that the Chinese could not have sold the metres thus, rubbishing all the allegations levelled against them and the Chinese.

The rest were not available for comment.

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