LEC Refutes Newspaper’s Report

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The management of Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) yesterday, October 25, clarified the Wednesday, October 24, 2018, volume 20, No. 34701 front page lead story of The Heritage newspaper entitled, “For ‘receiving’ over US$1M from US Embassy, others, without supply: Lawmakers Probe LEC.”

In the publication, according to an LEC release, the newspaper “erroneously stated that among many issues, the entity is being investigated for reportedly receiving over US$1 million from the U.S. Embassy near Monrovia, without supplying electricity to the facility.”

In its clarification, LEC said, “Let’s provide the historical context of the U.S. Feeder Lines Connectivity Project beginning on September 28, 2017, when the LEC Management, under then Interim managing director, Ernest Hughes, signed a US$460,000 contract with the U.S. Embassy, with the objective to provide 22kV lines from two of our substations feeding into the New U.S. Embassy Compound.”

“Unfortunately,” according to LEC, “the project did not commence while Mr. Hughes was head of the corporation until July 2, 2018, when ESBI finally commenced the planning and subsequent execution of the project.”

“Thus far, a couple of meetings with both the LEC and U.S. Embassy Project teams have occurred; the project plan was developed, distributed and discussed with the client before work commenced on September 17, 2018.”

“Further, we provide progress reports of works to the embassy per our contract with the US Government; we have erected poles along the route to run the overhead lines—as defined in the project plan,” the release said.

The project, LEC said, also complies with all government’s regulations, including the Ministry of Public Works (MoPW) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Cost and Disbursement of Funds

“The contract with the LEC and the U.S. Embassy is a firm fixed price contract with a face value of approximately US$460,495.10. On January 8, 2018, the U.S. Embassy disbursed US$185,000 to the LEC, and thus a balance of $275,495.10, which is to be paid upon completion or milestones—as stipulated in the contract.

“As agreed with the U.S. Embassy in our October 18, 2018 meeting, the project will be completed by the 3rd week of February, 2019, and when completed, the Embassy will become the corporation’s largest customer, which is in furtherance of our strategic goal to diversify our customer revenue based.

Meanwhile, LEC said it has met all government requirements—EPA and MoPW permit; poles are erected and overhead line commences on October 23, 2018; monthly meeting with the U.S. Embassy’s project team; connection to U.S. Embassy Feeder Line 2 – 3rd week December, 2018, and connection of Feeder Line 1—3rd week January, 2019 (30-day testing in February, 2019).

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