General News of Thursday, 12 March 2015
Source: Today Newspaper
Today can report that the on-going Self Help Electrification Project (SHEP) exercise in Mepe Traditional Area and its adjoining communities in the North Tongu District of the Volta region has been hit by a massive fraud.
That comes in the wake of a committee which was set up by the people of Mepe to supervise and monitor the SHEP which committee instead collected money from residents before giving them the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG’s) metres.
The membership of the said committee, Today learnt, included National Democratic Congress (NDC) executives in the area and the contractors of Beachmark Engineering Services Company from Mamprobi in Accra.
The committee, this paper gathered, was allegedly bribed to install the ECG metres in Mepe area in a certain direction.
And that move by the committee, Today was told, saw those who should have benefited from the SHEP being denied.
The project was part of the government’s rural electrification project which was undertaken by the ministry of energy and petroleum and the energy commission with support from the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) to connect villages and towns of Mepe Traditional Area to the national grid.
But, information available to Today indicates that the NDC North Tongu constituency Chairman, Moses Amenudor, rather chose to levy unsuspected residents of the area to pay Ghc500.00 before they could have the ECG metres.
For instance, a resident in Mepe (name withheld,) Today’s findings revealed, ended up buying five to eight metres from the committee members and resold them at exorbitant prices.
The situation, Today further learnt, has created intense tension between the residents on one hand and the committee members on the other hand.
The SHEP project at Mepe has been shrouded in what residents, particularly the executive members of Mepe Youth Association (MEYA) and Mepe Development Association (MDA,) have described as ‘moneycracy’ at its best.
Scores of residents told Today that huge sums of money had exchanged hands in the last couple of weeks, ostensibly to buy the conscience of the committee members and the contractors of the company.
The avalanche of complaints of “moneycracy” that had characterised the SHEP metreing project in Mepe and its surrounding environs confirmed the tantrums of the North Tongu constituency executives of the NDC that some executive members of the party were extending their corrupt practices in the area, a development the youth in Mepe stressed they would fight tooth-and-nail against.
“We can inform you on authority that the North Tongu constituency chairman of the NDC, Mr. Moses Amenudor, has taken over the Self Help Electrification Project…” he maligned the administrative body of the Mepe Development Association charged by the chiefs and people in Mepe Traditional Area to coordinate the project in order to exploit the indigenes to mobilise resources for the NDC in the 2016 elections,” the obviously peeved members of MEYA and MDA said.
And that notwithstanding, the two associations revealed to Today that Mr. Amenudor tasked the committee members including Emmanuel Zaforyi, Moses Asamuah, Wofa Donkor, Eric Aforve to collect levies of the metreing tolls from the residents without the consent of the chiefs and people of Mepe.
And so far, they averred that Mr. Wofa Donkor had collected levies of metreing tolls to the tune of about GHC21,000 in his area, followed by Eric Aforve Ghc16,100, while Messers Moses Asamuah and Emmanuel Zaforyi also had raked in about Ghc10,080 and Ghc 9,900 respectively for Mr. Amenudor.
The modus operandi of the above-mentioned personalities, the youth stated, involved hoarding the metres to create artificial shortage.
They then negotiate with hard pressed customers, collect money before service delivery and engage in a highly selective distribution of the metres in the area, the youth said.
According to them, one Doh Seko from Dekpo, an outskirt of Mepe township, paid a total of GHC200 to Mr. Eric Aforve and because the electricity metres were out of the system, Mr. Aforve tried to refund the money.
They pointed out that the said metreing monitory committee member on the direct orders of the NDC chairman had classified the payment of SHEP metres as follows; Ghc50 for one phase metre, Ghc200 for a three-phase meter, and Ghc200 for an aluminised pole extension.
Meanwhile, when this reporter contacted the North Tongu NDC constituency chairman via telephone for his reaction, on Tuesday, March 10, 2015 he admitted having hired the services of the metres monitory committee members to collect money from the residents who wanted to access the metres in their various homes.
However, he was quick to say that he took such a decision based on a crunch meeting he held with those who could not benefit from the previous installation of the metres.
According to Mr. Amenudor, after the government had completed its rural electricity metreing exercise in Mepe township somewhere in December 2014, he realised that some people who should have benefitted from the nine hundred and sixty (960) electricity metres had been denied.
“So being the head-in-charge of metres’ Supervisory and Monitoring Committee set by the chiefs and people of Mepe to supervise and monitor the contractors who undertook the project as well as the North Tongu constituency chairman of the ruling NDC, l quickly used my “executive powers” to write a letter to the Electricity Company of Ghana, requesting for additional metres for Mepe township to safeguard the situation.
“…fortunately, the ECG granted my request thereby giving a total of six hundred and twenty (620) additional electricity metres to me on behalf of Mepe with orders that I should sell them to the potential residents in the catchment areas and pay the money back to ECG,” he explained.
He stated that: “I want to say on record that the new 620 electricity metres which were brought to Mepe by the ECG to be installed in various homes were made possible through my own efforts and not the government, saying the “people should leave me alone.”
Mincing no words, Mr. Amenudor stressed further that: “I and my employees are not selling the metres to pocket the money. This money is being sent to the office of the ECG for probity and accountability.”
Fuming with rage, Mr. Amenudor also refuted the allegation that the contractors of the Beachmark Engineering Services Company had sexual intercourse with some women in Mepe in exchange for metres.
He emphasised that: “so far as I am concerned I have not gotten any report on any pregnancy issue in Mepe in which the ladies involved mentioned the names of the contractors of the project.”