LEC Wants Fast-track Court for Power Theft
Monrovia – The Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) is calling on the government of Liberia to setup a fast-track court to try anyone caught stealing its electrical power it produces.
Report by J.H. Webster Clayeh [email protected]
LEC last month lunched a special taskforce to disconnect illegally connected homes and businesses. Since then, the LEC management team said they have disconnected over 700 homes and businesses.
Although the taskforce team has started the arrest of some individuals that are involved in power theft, Samuel Zimbe, Executive Director for Commercial and Regulatory at LEC, said they want the government to introduce stringent measure to prosecute who-be criminals.
“We want to elevate the process of handling power theft currently and prioritize that within the Judiciary,” Zimbe said.
Zimbe added: “In many countries this type of crime is classified as economy sabotage.”
“So, we are working with the government to make sure that all those caught in power theft are taken through a quick (fast-track) court process,” he said.
Despite their plan to increase the connection of electricity, the Executive Director for Commercial and Regulatory said the act of power theft is causing the entity to lose more than halve of its revenues generated.
“Right now, over 60 percent of the power generated is lost. It has significant impact on the economy,” Zimbe added.
More Homes to Be Connected
Despite the many complains coming from residents of Monrovia and its environs; the management of LEC has disclosed that they are set to connect 100,000 homes and businesses over the next two years.
Noel J. Walsh, head of LEC’s special taskforce: “We have several projects that are ongoing, and we will connect many communities. The projects will focus on those that have been by-passed over the years.”
Since the launch of the taskforce, over 400 homes and businesses have been connected, the LEC folks stated.
The taskforce head also called on the public to be patience as they try to connect many homes.
“It is not going to happen overnight. Electricity takes a lot of times and money, but we are getting there,” he assured.
According to Walsh, the LEC team will revamp over 6,000 meters that are malfunctioning before the end of this year.
Communities’ Support Needed
The LEC management team indicated that despite their robustness in curbing the power theft, they need the support of various communities in Monrovia and its environs.
According to Walsh, some communities are supportive in helping the LEC fight power theft but added that the efforts from every community is needed adding that it will help the corporation gains more revenues.
According to him, they are working with community and political leaders who are residing in the various communities to help the special taskforce team with information about illegal connections.
Because of the support from some residents, Walsh stated a 22-year-old man named Layee Keita, was arrested for “power theft” in Clara Town, Bushrod Island on Sunday, September 30.
Layee has been charged with theft of property and has been forwarded to the Monrovia Center Prison by the Bushrod Island Magisterial Court for illegally tempering with power lines of the Liberia Electricity Corporation.
“LEC considers the arrest as a major boost in the fight against electricity theft’,” Walsh said.