By Gifty Arthur
The Loss Control Department of the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL), has threatened that it would lay down it tools, if management fails to support them, especially when they go on the field to get customers to conform with the company’s laws.
The workers are not happy with management’s handling of their risky job which includes, the going into homes of customers to inspect Meters to ensure that they are using them rightly and paying the required charges.
Their work, also includes assisting the Police to arrest customers, who are stealing GWCL treated water or have tempered with the meters and are underpaying bills.
They are calling on the sector Minister, Alhaji Collins Dauda, to intervene by making available to them all the necessary tools and commitment to enhance their work.
According to the workers who “The Herald” accompanied last Monday, August 25, to homes in and around Tema in the Greater Accra Region to carry out some disconnection exercise, their efforts are being frustrated by some senior officers of GWCL ,who refuse to release junior officials for punishment anytime they are caught, conniving with the public to dupe the state.
On Monday’s operation, some two customers, Juliet Aniko Osabotey, a sachet water producer and Kanige Michelite, a Nigerian, were rounded up at their homes at HFC Estate near Baatsona and Community 19 respectively, and handed over to the Community 18 Police.
They owed a total sum of GH¢3, 003, 39 over a period of six years. The officers, who conducted the operation with the support of the National Security operatives, were also in the house of another Nigerian, who had earlier threatened to shoot Meter Readers, should they dare come to his house to inspect his meter.
Other customers, during the exercise had opened their wild dogs on the officers, who tried to enter their homes to carry out their duty.
The workers, who are likely to strike any moment from now, argued that by their laws, when it was established that an official, has conspired with a customer to steal from the GWCL, he automatically loses his or her job.
At Tema Heavy Industrial Area, where massive water thefts were detected, by the Loss Control officers while performing their task, received threatening messages from their colleagues in Tema.
But the officers say, when their colleagues are caught for instance, giving customers domestic meters instead of commercial meters, under reading meters or carrying out illegal connection, superior officers, instead of allowing the law to take its course, shamefully protect these junior staff by going round pleading on their behalf.
The frustrated workers, who told this paper that the practice has gone on for far too long, and lamented how in most cases, such staff who misconduct themselves come threatening and cursing, heaping insults on them, after they have been left off the hook, while the state lose huge sums of money.
They say, aside the risk involved in entering peoples’ homes where sometimes they are attacked and dogs released on them, the lives of their informants who give them periodic information, are not spared either.
These they enumerated have deterred them from embarking on any activity going forward. They have warned that until management and the sector minister, intervene by ensuring that the laws are allowed to work and their movement properly facilitated, they shall stop the risky adventure.
The Loss Control officers, wondered why their work has always been underestimated by management, even when it has been established that their singular activity continue to help the company rake in money, which otherwise will have gone into individual pockets.
The disturbed and frustrated officers say their work would be worth pursuing, if they had the support of management to rid unscrupulous staff from the company.
They say, even as they prepare to lay down their tools, they have countless number of information from informants who continue to provide them with credible information about water theft almost everywhere in the capital, but are hesitant to pursue such customers, because of management’s actions and inactions.