The pastor of the New Life Baptist Rock Assemblies at North Legon in Accra, Rev. Kwame Boateng, and his tenant, Kwame Amoako, have been convicted of illegal power connection and stealing of power by the Utility Court in Accra.
They were convicted after they changed their initial plea of not guilty to guilty to the charges. They had initially been granted bail in the sum of GH¢10,000 with two sureties when they appeared before the court in December 2015.
They were each fined 200 penalty units, representing GH¢2,400, or in default face two months’ imprisonment. Rev. Boateng paid a compensation of 500 penalty units, representing GH¢6,000, to the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG).
Rev. Boateng was arrested by the ECG’s Investigation Unit at East Legon on November 8, 2015, for allegedly stealing electricity and connecting it for 11 others for a fee.
It was detected that power supply to the house had been bypassed and connected to seven single rooms and six shops on the compound.
Amoako, a caretaker in the house, is said to have collected various sums as electricity bills from the tenants but refused to pay to the power distributor.
According to the tenants, they made several requests to Rev. Boateng for separate meters but that never happened.
The court, presided over by Mr Wolanyo Kotoku, before pronouncing judgement, said it had taken into consideration the fact that the accused persons had been remorseful.
Earlier, the lawyer of the two accused persons, Mr Theophilus Donkor, had prayed the court to deal with his clients (who were then drenched with sweat) leniently. He pleaded with the court to either caution the accused persons or fine them.
He told the court that Rev. Boateng had paid the total bill levied by the ECG as a result of the illegal tapping of power and had also acquired separate meters for each tenant in the house.
The manager in charge of prosecutions at the ECG, Mr Paul Assibi Abariga, who did not oppose the plea of a non-custodial sentence, insisted on the payment of compensation to the ECG.
Prosecuting, Mr Abariga said on November 8, 2015, a team of ECG workers, on a monitoring exercise at East Legon, detected that seven rooms and four shops on the first floor of a three-storey building belonging to Rev. Boateng were tapping power illegally from the ECG distribution system.
The team, he said, also found that the two meters in the facility had also been bypassed.
Rev. Boateng was therefore billed GH¢19,162.62.