Four electricians have been convicted and fined for stealing Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) meters. They are also said to have used a master card to feed the prepaid meters of some customers of the company in some parts of Accra without authority.
The accused persons — Isaac Boamah, Wisdom Ablormetsi, Osei Kwame Oppong and Hamidu Abdulai — faced charges of intentionally interfering with the supplier’s distribution system, stealing and causing damage to ECG meters.
The Accra Circuit Court, presided over by Mrs Afi Agbanu, after hearing the facts of the case, fined the four, who were appearing before the court for the second time, 100 penalty units each, representing GH¢?1,200.
A penalty unit is GH¢ 12.
All the four accused persons, who had earlier pleaded not guilty, changed their pleas to guilty and were convicted on their own pleas.
In addition to the fine, the court asked Oppong, who was charged separately for stealing 14 ECG meters valued at GH¢ 13,930, and Ablormetsi, accused of damaging three ECG meters after using the master card with an infinite amount of power on the meters, to pay additional compensation of GH¢ 2,000 each to the ECG.
Boamah and Abdulai, accomplices who sold and fixed the stolen meters, were asked to pay GH¢?1,000 each to the ECG.
Facts of the case
Presenting the facts of the case, the Manager of the ECG Prosecution Unit, Mr Paul Assisi Abariga, said the four accused persons were arrested after officials at the ECG Achimota District Office discovered that a resident of Alhaji, near Lapaz in Accra, was consuming power illegally.
He said the team arrested that person and she mentioned Ablormetsi as the person who had fed her meter with an infinite amount of power.
Later, Ablormetsi was arrested and handed over to the Mile Seven Police in?Accra for further investigations.
In the course of investigations, Mr Abariga said it was established that Ablormetsi had met Boamah in the woman’s house at Alhaji. The woman had contracted Boamah to install a meter for her and the two became friends.
Boamah is said to have told Ablormetsi to contact him anytime he needed any quantity of ECG meters.
Subsequently, Ablormetsi contacted Boamah for three meters to replace others he had damaged in the cause of attempting to illegally credit them with power using the master card.
Mr Abariga said Ablormetsi led the police to arrest Boamah, who told the police that the meters were supplied to him by Oppong, who was arrested later in his house at Mataheko in Accra.
A search in Oppong’s house after his arrest led to the retrieval of 12 new ECG meters and an unspecified quantity of meter seals.
Mr Abariga told the court that Oppong, in his statement to the police, indicated that the meters were given to him by a man he identified only as Kwame but he could not help the police to arrest him.
He said it was also found out that Abdulai, Boamah’s accomplice, was the one Boamah had been using to install some of the stolen meters and when he was arrested one of the meters was found in a bag he was carrying.
After the court proceedings, Mr Abariga told journalists that the master card which could not be traced had been disabled to make it impossible for anyone to use.
He explained that the ECG had programmed its system in such a way that when a master card was used on a prepaid meter without authority, it was automatically blocked and became unusable.
He, therefore, advised customers of the company to ensure that they did not entertain electricians who claimed to have master cards.