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9 convicted for illegal power connection

Nine out of 14 people put before an Accra Circuit Court last Saturday have been convicted and fined for illegally connecting electricity to their homes and business outlets.

The nine, including a pregnant woman and a lactating mother, were sentenced on their own pleas of being guilty of connecting power illegally and theft of power.

They were fined between 80 and 100 penalty points ranging from GH¢960 to GH¢1,200 and were to pay their fines before 2 p.m. that day, or risked being placed in police custody until today.

Each of them, in addition, was charged to pay GH¢200 as compensation to the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG).

Five others, who pleaded not guilty, were granted bail in various sums but ordered to provide two sureties, in addition to depositing 50 per cent of the amount each of them owed the ECG with the court, as part of their bail conditions.

A little over GH¢50,000 was recouped by the ECG from the accused persons by the close of last Saturday.

Originally, 27 people were to be put before the court, out of which 14 turned out thereby necessitating the Presiding Judge, Mr Worlanyo Kotoku, to issue a bench warrant for the arrest of the 13 suspects who failed to show up.


He explained that for the charge of stealing, they were supposed to be given custodial sentences, but the inclusion of a pregnant woman, as well as a lactating mother, had prompted the court to be lenient.

He, however, warned that per the leniency he had granted the accused persons, if any of them defaulted in the directions of the court, he might have no other option than to commit them for custodial sentences.

For a good number of them, before they were called to the dock, they were relaxed and non-expectant of any unpleasant decision from the court, but after the ruling, their moods changed.

That was after the court clerk had informed them at 1:25 p.m. that they had up until 2 p.m. to pay their fines, compensations and deposits, else they risked being placed in police custody.

That led to a scene of frantic activities with the convicts, with the police by their side, making several calls to friends and family members to bail them out.

No mercy for power thieves
In an interview with the Daily Graphic after the court proceedings, the Director of Prosecutions at the ECG, Mr Paul Assibi Abariga, who represented the state, said the ECG had embarked on a timeless exercise to rid the nation of people who had made it their business to cheat the taxpayer by illegally connecting power.

He said the drive had no consideration for persons who were prominent or not and that the right action would be taken in ensuring that the right things were done in order to safeguard power efficiency for all.

The ECG, in collaboration with the security agencies, commenced a special national exercise from Saturday, August 1, 2015, aimed at clamping down on persons who had connected power illegally.

It involved visits to all customers of the company to ascertain the nature of their electricity connection and the state of electricity meters.

The Managing Director of the company, Mr Robert Dwamena, had said the move had been occasioned by wanton theft of power on the part of some unscrupulous elements that undermined the revenue drive of the company.

He said in spite of the existence of the loss control outfit in the company, the theft of power was now becoming “overwhelmingly high”.


Source: graphic.com.gh


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