A Nigerian national accused of duping the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) of US$350,000 through illegal connection to the corporation’s power grid will shortly appear before Criminal Court ‘C’ in Monrovia to face multiple charges that include economic sabotage.
The court is yet to set a date for David Lee’s appearance, but information gathered by the Daily Observer established that since Lee’s arrest on October 17, 2018, he has been at the Monrovia Central Prison waiting his day in court.
Prosecutors have already indicted defendant David Lee who is accused of having collected US$40 per house as a current bill from several houses on Center and Benson Streets in Monrovia for the last four years (2015-2018) without the knowledge and approval of the LEC management, amounting to US$350,000.
Other charges that Lee is expected to face include theft of property, fraud on internal service of Liberia and criminal trespass.
The prosecutors’ decision to indict Lee, who was arrested on October 17, 2018, came shortly after President George Weah, during his annual message to the 54th National Legislature narrated that “Statistics showed that 10% of power theft costs the Liberia Electricity Corporation $8 million United States dollars.”
“Today, because of the increase in illegal connections, the LEC is losing in excess of $35 million United States dollars per year to electricity theft,” the president noted. “Power Theft is illegal and sabotages the economy and we are going to provide the Ministry of Justice with additional funding to work in coordination with the Judiciary to fast track power-theft cases.”
President Weah said, “revenue collected accounts for about 40% of generated load, while power theft accounts for about 49% and technical losses account for 12%. There has not been a change in tariff and that may not change until the problem of power theft is addressed through policy reform.”
The indictment also alleged that Lee is not an employee of the corporation, but, since he is an electrician he started to contact community dwellers to carry out his illegal connections. He was arrested on October 17, 2018, while on one of the LEC’s light poles connecting homes.
“By virtue of this act, and knowing that he was not an employee and was not authorized by the LEC management to carry on such connection, he did criminally defraud the government of its revenue,” the court record alleged.