Breaking Power Theft Jinx: How Mary Broh Brought Prominent Individuals to Their Knees
SINCE THE END of the civil war in Liberia, the country has been struggling to restore basic services including the essential electricity with the entire country experiencing darkness, thereby impeding the growth of businesses.
THE REGIME of former president Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf made frantic efforts to restore electricity to the capital Monrovia and its immediate environs, but that effort did not fully materialize.
By Editorial Board
THE EUROPEAN UNION funded electrification project saw Ghanaian technicians coming to help restore electricity to Monrovia when Johnson-Sirleaf said “there will be small light today and big light tomorrow”.
LATER DURING the regime of Johnson- Sirleaf, the Millennium Compact Corporation (MCC) assisted the Liberia Electricity Corporation, which led to the LEC expanding its service delivery to a larger part of Monrovia and environs.
THE LEC has been rapidly expanding and providing electricity to homes and businesses, but the issue of power theft continues to haunt the entity, with reports that the LEC is losing millions of United States dollars to power theft.
MANY ILLEGAL lines are connected in several communities by individuals purporting to be agents of the LEC, thereby depriving the LEC from collecting the needed income to sustain the entity and enable the entity to provide electricity.
TO CURB the huge wave of power theft, the LEC proposed an Act against power Theft which was passed into the law by the National Legislature.
THE POWER THEFT Act makes all forms of power theft a second-degree felony punishable by jail terms ranging from two (2) years minimum to maximum seven (7) years and fines ranging form minimum four hundred United States Dollars (US$400) to maximum One Thousand United States Dollars (US$1,000) for individuals found guilty of committing power theft.
SPECIFICALLY, Section 6.13 of the 2015 Electricity Law provides that theft of electricity is a criminal offense and anyone culpable should be prosecuted under the laws of the Republic of Liberia.
THE NATIONAL Legislature passed the Power Theft Act, indicating that power theft should be considered as a crime and national security crime because it damages the country’s economic development.
MANY HAD thought that the passage of the Power Theft Law could solve the problem as people will be afraid to engage in the act, but following the passage of the law, effective monitoring, arresting those found in the act and full implementation of the new law has been a big problem that seems not to help curb the incidences of power theft around Monrovia and even other parts of the country like Nimba, where a local electricity provider is also struggling with issues of power theft.
OVER THE last few weeks, Madam Mary T. Broh, the head of the General Services Agency (GSA), was named as head of a Special Task Force to tackle power theft.
MADAM BROH, whose public record is known for instilling discipline and bringing much needed changes, has moved quickly along with her team, cutting illegal power lines in Monrovia and its environs, arresting those accused of connecting these illegal lines.
ONE THING that is very commendable and noticeable about the ongoing work by Madam Broh and her team is that there is no discrimination in enforcing the law, such as acting against ordinary citizens and leaving out officials of government or other prominent individuals in the Liberian society.
THE ACT OF LEAVING our government officials and other prominent individuals in the Liberian society during the period of enforcing the law is very common as many of these officials do not even register their private vehicles or comply with other rules and regulations.
MADAM BROH and team have been leaving no stone unturned or picking and choosing during the implementation of the anti-power theft strategy.
IN THE GSA ROAD, Rehab Community, Madam Broh and team cut the power line providing electricity to the Honourable Speaker of the House of Representative, Bhofal Chambers.
THIS IS QUITE strange for an official of the Executive Branch of Government to take such stern action against the third most powerful individual within the Government of Liberia.
QUITE INTERESTING is that the Power Theft Act was passed into law by the National Legislature, which is headed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, therefore it is so difficult to understand why the Speaker has been using electricity provided his private residence through illegal power line, thereby depriving the LEC of needed revenue.
THE CUTTING of the power line providing electricity to the home of the Speaker sends a strong signal that Madam Broh and team are truly ready to fight power theft and no individual is above the law in this quest to raid Monrovia and its environs of power theft.
NOT ONLY was the Speaker affected but many other prominent individuals were affected, including the Chairman of the former ruling Unity Party, Rev. Luther Tarpeh, whose power line was also brought down by the anti-power theft team.
THE ACTION by Madam Broh and team of anti-power theft is highly commendable and should serve as a good example to other public officials that are in the discharge of their public duties.
MADAM BROH has shown how laws should be enforced and if the ongoing anti-power theft operation is maintained for the long term, it will help to minimize the issue of power theft which is gravely affecting the revenue generation capacity of the LEC.
THE MANAGEMENT TEAM at the LEC should also learn something new from the ongoing raid by Madam Broh and team and keep enforcing the law without fear or favour or else the LEC will not be able to deliver on its statutory responsibilities to the Liberian people.