A self-styled contractor of the Electricity Company of Ghana working around Oyarifa-Teiman in the Greater Accra Region is, in connivance with some opinion leaders of the area, charging residents between GH¢370 and GH¢490 under the pretext of providing them with ECG meters.
The said contractor, whose name the B&FT could only obtain as Mr Mensah, is working with a linguist to the Teiman chief, popularly known as Okyeame Adjei, who is collecting the monies from residents.
When one of these investigators disguised himself as a customer and visited his residence last weekend, the linguist eagerly produced a list, saying as many as 133 persons had already made payments to him for the supposed meters.
The syndicate said it is going to provide single-phased and three-phased meters at the respective prices of GH¢370 and GH¢490.
The B&FT assumes, therefore, that even if each one of the 133 persons settled for a single phased meter, the syndicate would have made at least GH¢49,210, but the figure is likely to be higher considering that some of the victims may have paid for the three-phased meter.
Asked whether receipts were issued to persons who paid for the meters, Okyeame Adjei answered in the negative.
“We are collecting all the money and when the number becomes large, the customers will be connected with meters, but for the money, an accountant from the ECG will accompany us to deposit it at a bank,” he said.
Mr. Mensah, who got suspicious when the B&FT contacted him on phone and tried to book a meeting, said he won the contract to install the meters from the “Greater Accra Regional Office” and that he is being supervised by the regional office in Accra Central and not the Dodowa ECG District Office, which has direct oversight over the entire Adentan, Oyarifa, Teiman area.
A number of residents who spoke to the B&FT recounted that about three weeks ago, a pickup truck came around to announce that residents without meters should visit the Teiman- Okplonkpo Assemblies of God Church premises to be registered.
“When we got there, we were told to write down our names and pay GH¢370 and GH¢490 for a single and three-phase meter respectively, but we said we didn’t have money with us. So, we were told to make the payments later to the Teiman Chief’s Linguist,” one of the victims said.
The said meeting, which was allegedly spearheaded by the linguist to the Teiman Chief, also had in attendance Daniel Owusu, Assemblyman for Oyarifa-Teiman, as well as other opinion leaders of the area.
Whilst the linguist, who is fronting for the contractor, said the meters cost between GH¢370 and GH¢490, depending on the type of phase, the contractor told the B&FT on phone that the meters were going for between GH¢235 and GH¢350.
Asked what the charges were meant for, Mr. Mensah said they covered the cost of installation.
When the B&FT contacted the ECG Dodowa District Manager, Kwabena Mensah, he said his office did not know about the said contractor and that they were going to investigate the matter.
Similarly, the PRO of ECG, William Boateng, said the company had not awarded any such contract, and that they were going to initiate investigations into the matter immediately.
He wondered how monies could be taken on behalf of the ECG at someone’s residence, saying: I think some people are just pulling a fast one on poor, innocent people.”
He explained that, whether it is for a separate meter or a meter for a new building, customers need to pick a form from offices of the ECG, fill the form and submit, after which an inspection and other procedures are carried out, and the customer makes the appropriate payments.
Conflicting roles between ECG and ‘Power Ministry’
The B&FT understands that apart from the ECG, the Energy Ministry also awards contracts for the installation of meters under the Self-Help Electrification Project (SHEP), which has resulted in some confusion. But there are no installation charges under the SHEP.
According to Mr Kwabena Mensah of the Dodowa district, there are a good number of meters in his jurisdiction which have not been captured by the local ECG office because they were installed without their knowledge.
“We have a big problem here. We are not able to capture a lot of meters in this area because they were installed without our knowledge. Similar installations have been done before and it has created a lot of problems in the district,” he said.