Hides meter in kitchen & owes company close to GHS300 Million
“The energy sector is so riddled with corruption, inefficiency, indecision, self-interest and misguided and inappropriate policies that it has become a drag on the economic transformation of the country.”
These were the exact words of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Minority Spokesperson on Energy, Kwabina Tahir Hammond, when he addressed a press conference to rundown the Energy Ministry and Mahama administration, last week Monday in Accra.
But days after these audacious words, a former Deputy Energy Minister in the Kufuor administration, has been caught by officials of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) to have accumulated bills running into hundreds of millions of cedis, which he has refused to pay, claiming his post paid electric meter was faulty.
Shockingly, attempts by some ECG officials to replace his “faulty postpaid meter” with a faultless prepaid meter at his Agbogba residence resulted in the officials being drenched with insults from the Member of Parliament (MP) for Adansi Asokwa in the Ashanti Region.
Another interesting thing discovered at the MP’s residence was that the postpaid meter was hidden under lock and key, contrary to strict instructions by ECG that its meters must be put at a place visible enough to be accessed and read by its officers. It was said to be hidden in his kitchen.
The officials who were from the Kwabenya District ECG office, according to The Herald’s sources, were fiercely resisted by the NPP MP who kept yelling and describing Ghana’s pre-paid meter, which they wanted to fix in his house as the “most useless prepaid meter in this world”.
The ECG officials, led by the Kwabenya District Technical Director, Nana Bordor had succumbed to the MP’s whims and ended up giving him another postpaid meter, although the management of ECG had publicly declared it had stopped issuing postpaid meters to prospective customers to prevent revenue loss.
Mr. Hammond who is said to be using a post paid meter, wanted a replacement of his postpaid meter, but obviously not interested in the prepaid meter being distributed to the poor and the vulnerable.
Interestingly, these were the same meters whose purchase were unilaterally awarded by the Kufuor government at millions of United States dollars and dumped on Ghanaians by one of ex-President John Kufuor’s sons by name, Agyekum who is married to an American half cast lady.
Checks run by the EGC officials on his account number; 118-7128-001 revealed that the NPP MP, owes ECG close to a whopping ¢300 million, having last paid his bills in 2011.
As at 2011, it is estimated that he owed ¢120 million, but through some mysterious circumstances the money was flashed to indicate he does not owe the company. But since then an amount of ¢90 million has again piled up. However, The Herald is informed that the same meter indicates Mr.
K.T Hammond owes ¢15 million.
The Herald is informed that though officials of the district had on countless occasions tried to verify the fault on his meter and disconnect the MP for non-payment of bills if need be, the District Manager for Kwabenya, one Helen Agyekum always foiled that attempt for reasons best known to her.
The house meter is said to be located inside his kitchen, built with burglar proof which would definitely make it impossible on any day for officials of ECG to perform their duty. His security guards always say he is not available, anytime ECG officials visited the house to verify his meter.
The legislator who threw tantrums at the officers at his “Ahmaddiya Mission” residence at Agbogba, is reported to have in the presence of the officials called the Acting Director, Customer Services, Arthur Forson, at the company’s headquarters in Accra to report about the decision by the Kwabenya officers to fix a prepaid meter in his house.
Mr. Forson is said, to have placed a call to the Kwabenya offices and ordered that an old meter be fixed instead of the new prepaid that the officers had gone to his house with.
But Mr. Forson, told The Herald thathe only instructed the Kwabenya District Manager, Dominic Afesi, to assist the MP by replacing the faulty meter he complained about. This assistance, he said, would have been offered any customer.
He disclosed that Mr. K.T Hammond had stormed the EGC headquarters in Accra to complaint to the Managing Director, William Hutton, but met his absence and was referred to him as Acting Director for Customer Services.
He denied knowledge of Mr. K.T. Hammond’s indebtedness to the company.
On the postpaid meter fixed at the MP’s house, Mr. Forson opined that this might have been done to enable the officers correctly ascertain the exact quantum of the debt to properly bill him, after which they would replace it with a prepaid meter.
He told this paper that he only told his colleague at Kwabenya to “go and put a good meter there”. But attempt to get Dominic Afesi, who dispatched his men to the MP’s residence proved futile.
Meanwhile, on Saturday when The Herald called Mr. Hammond for his side of the story, he flatly denied any incident in his house. He rather told the paper if the publication was an indirect attempt to silence him, because of his recent comment on the energy sector, he will not keep quiet.
“Who is given you this information, the ECG? This is untrue”. These little things will not deter KT Hammond from speaking his mind. Whoever is given you whatever they are given you, let them say. I reported a case and it has been fixed for me”.
He would not answer questions on his indebtedness to the company, but insisted his problem has been fixed.
But the Kwabenya District Technical Director, who led the team of ECG officers confirmed the MP indeed, owes bills accumulated for some time.
He also confirmed taken two meters to the MP’s house one prepaid and the other a postpaid meter. He said, he and his team fixed the postpaid meter for the MP. He also confirmed the meter was hidden inside the house and difficult to trace and described it as illegal.
Nana Bordor, disclosed that he and his team were monitoring the situation for a month to ascertain the MP’s electricity consumption to determine the quantum of bill to slap on him. He said, they were received nicely by the MP on that day, but this has been denied by other members of the team.