Power Theft Persists: Another Youth, Electrocuted

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The corpse of a 23-year man was discovered suspended high up from a high-tension LEC (Liberia Electricity Corporation) pole in the early hours of yesterday in the slum community of Buzzy Quarter in Monrovia. The deceased, known as Kaleko Kollie, had climbed up there during the wee hours that morning to perform an illegal electricity connection for “a customer” and got electrocuted in the process.

Kaleko’s death brought many onlookers to the scene, some expressing shock, yet sobered by the hard lesson learned, as they gathered under the light pole where the young man’s corpse hung.

One of the onlookers described the death of the late Kollie as “unfortunate,” while a woman in the crowd of the onlookers recalled that Kollie’s electrocution brings to three the number of persons electrocuted in recent time.

Two other onlookers, who claimed to be long time acquaintances of the deceased, said his death justifies the maxim: “99 days for rogue, one day for master.”

The two, Prince Yarsiah (23) and Winston Koffa (26), told the Daily Observer that they had been advising Kollie up to around 1 a.m. yesterday to stop his trade of making illegal electric connections.

According to Yarsiah and Koffa, their late friend entered the trade quite recently. “But we told him to leave the act because it was a dangerous venture as he was not a trained electrician.”

They said until his death, Kollie had connected “customers” in the community for US$10 or US$20, and “because of the small, small amounts of money he was receiving, he became lured into the act, and lost his life in the process.”

For young Kollie, this was his means to an income. And in spite of recurring reports of electrocutions from attempted illegal power connections across Monrovia, he climbed up the high-tension pole, apparently confident in his pair of gloves, a flashlight, pliers and some idea of what to do. Little did he know, this time he would not return.

A wailing woman remarked, “They say a leaf that is sweet in a billy-goat’s mouth can runs its stomach.”

Emmanuel Kollie, father of the deceased, and an in-service teacher at the Teachers’ College, University of Liberia (UL), tearfully said:
“It is hard to say, because a child who cannot hear can feel. I was studying late last night when he took pliers and said he was going to connect a customer. I advised him on many occasions, but he did not hear me until this morning we saw his lifeless body near the high tension LEC pole.”

He said the late Kollie was one of four brothers. He leaves to mourn his girl friend, Martha Tamba, his two year old son, and a host of relatives.

Meanwhile, it was around 2:30 p.m. yesterday when the LEC authority sent some linesmen who released the body from the pole and turned it over to the family.

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