The Minister of Lands, Mines and Energy, Patrick Sendolo, has given a warning that the Ministry will take tough action against the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) if irregularities in its activities continue to exist.
Minister Sendolo made the statement on development in the Energy Sector at the Ministry of Information’s regular press briefing. He underscored the delay in connecting customers as one major irregularity that has received constant complaints over time.
Many customers in Monrovia, who have paid registration fees to be connected complain that LEC delays to connect them or— in some instances— does not go to their communities at all.
According to the Minister, it should take LEC at most two weeks to connect any customer who has gone through the registration process.
He then blamed a certain group of customers for the general delays; those who allegedly use bribes to get their work done faster, saying. “When they use these illegal methods and their expectations are not met when they want, these corrupt people have the nerve to complain.”
However, the Minister was strict to state that the average honest customers’ concern is to get light, and after paying their money there is a need to connect them within the two-week period.
He warned LEC to demonstrate honesty in dealing with customers or the Ministry of Lands, Mines, and Energy would take a tougher stance if such irregularity continued.
Commenting further, Minister Sendolo said that poles planted along streets to connect homes are not to be sold to any customer.
He stressed that the poles are brought in by government and must be planted free of charge.
He also called on customers to carefully identify any LEC employee that charge money for poles and report them to the ministry.
Presenting figures from LEC’s update concerning connection of residents in Monrovia and environs, Minister Sendolo said 1,018 customers were connected in December, 1,594 connected in January, and as of February 25, 930 total customers were connected.
Electricity in Liberia tends to be expensive as generators consume fuel to provide light to the city’s customers at a high cost.
In order to address the crisis to provide affordable electricity, government and its partners including the European Union, Germany and Norway, have contributed large amounts of money to rehabilitate the Mount Coffee Dam that was destroyed during the course of the Liberian civil war.
Amidst this effort, speculation is mounting that Finance Minister Amara Konneh is claiming to be the one rehabilitating the dam instead of Lands, Mines, and Energy— who are clothed with the responsibility to carry on every activity relating to the Energy Sector.
Reacting to this speculation, Minister Sendolo said, “Whoever does what is not my concern. The major concern we all share is that the work should be done for Liberians to benefit.”
However, Minister Sendolo was quick to point out, “Statements from certain people saying that Finance is implementing the hydro project are irresponsible, and I don’t think Minister Konneh would make such a statement to anybody.”
He said while the Ministry of Finance is responsible to generate revenue to facilitate government’s projects, other ministries and agencies are there to oversee projects they are assigned to implement.