Over Power Theft
…After Man Of God Convicted For Illegal Power Connection
By Alfred Dogbey
The Head of Prosecutions at the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), Mr. Paul Assibi Abariga, has served notice to the general public that, the company would continue to deal ruthlessly with individuals and entities, who have been involved in connecting electricity illegally, and causing millions of revenue loss to the state.
Mr. Assibi Abariga’s warning, follows the arrest and prosecution of a pastor with the Global Prayer Palace Church at East Legon, in Accra, Michael Mensah, who has been convicted by an Accra Circuit Court, for fraudulently connecting electricity to his church.
The Man of God, who was present in court last Saturday, was charged for stealing and interfering with Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), which he remorsefully pleaded guilty.
However, the court, presided over by Justice Worlanyo Kotoku, sentenced the pastor for GH¢360 and also ordered him to pay compensation of GH¢100.00 to the ECG for perpetuating a crime.
But the prosecutor told The Herald after court proceedings that, more culprits would be made to face the law. He also warned culprits who have failed to show up in court to avil themselves.
The strict prosecutor who is not happy about the seeming refusal by some of the accused persons to appear in court for trial warned that, “…if their [culprits] absence is repeated in the next adjourn date on November 7, I will take step and plead with the court to issue bench warrant of their arrest”.
The Abariga’s displeasure follows the low turn up of the accused persons in court during the previous hearing on October 17, even though they have been well-informed about their presence in court. He told The Herald in an interview that such attitude would not be tolerated.
Out of a total of twelve fresh cases sent to court last Saturday involving power theft and other criminal offenses, only three accused persons out of the number showed up, despite earlier warning by the court.
Names of some prominent companies, Superline Company Limited, a recycling company located along the Graphic Road and Najinaram Hotel at Shiashie in Accra have been disclosed by officials of ECG as those who have fraudulently connected the power and using it to operate their businesses without paying a dine to the state.
The prosecutor however, indicated to The Herald that the absence of some of the suspects in court is mainly due to the fact that power was almost immediately restored the moment the accused persons have paid their bills.
However, Mr. Assibi Abariga explained that, there is a criminal element to the whole exercise and that is why the accused persons are enjoining by law to appear in court to stand trial, but they fail to do so.
This paper is informed that, since this exercise to clamp down on revenue leakages in ECG has began, over one hundred and fifty-two individuals and institutions have also been prosecuted so far, including the company’s own staff who was equally prosecuted and convicted.
Mr. Assibi Abariga during one of the trial, pleads with the judge to punish severely the accused persons in order to serve as a deterrent to others. According to him, suspects would have gone away freely without being noticed of their unlawful conduct, if Management had not carried out
painstaking investigations to discover these individual and companies illegalities.
Meanwhile, at a press conference held in Accra recently, ECG announced it has recouped a sum of GH¢3.2 million Cedis from culprits who were caught in the illegal power connections and sent to court.