General News Wed, 18 Apr 2001

ECG to Sue Glass Factory Over ?1.46billion Debt

The Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) is to sue Tropical Glass Factory, formerly Abosso Glass Factory, at Abosso near Tarkwa in the Western Region to recover the ?1.46 billion electricity debt it owed the ECG. The decision by the ECG to resort to court action to recover the money followed an apparent refusal by Tropical Glass Factory, owned by the Togolese opposition leader exiled in Ghana, Mr. Gilchrist Olympio, to settle the debt which is the accumulated bill from 1995 to June 1999 when ECG finally decided to disconnect power supply to the company. The Western Regional director of the company, Mr. D. Boa Essilfie who disclosed this to the Chronicle in Takoradi last Tuesday, said after all efforts to recover the money had failed and the fact that the company has also ceased production, his administration decided to refer the case to the ECG headquarters in Accra to handle.

"I am very optimistic that the court action would be the last resort", he added. Individual companies and institutions in the Western Region collectively owe the ECG ?30 billion the including ?1.46 billion owed by the Olympio-owned Tropical Glass Factory.

Interestingly, instead of Mr. Olympio seeing to the payment of the debt incurred by his company to bail the ECG from its financial problems, he decided to shift to the use of marine oil which would have to be imported at great cost to fire the machines at the factory after the ECG had disconnected power for non-payment of electricity bills.

Meanwhile, a source at the ECG in Takoradi has confirmed Chronicle earlier report that Mr. Olympio was using his connection in the then NDC government to get power reconnected to the factory anytime it was cut by the ECG.

The source further told Chronicle that but for the intervention of the powers that be, the bill would not have accumulated to the ?1.46 billion, which the company is now refusing to pay to the ECG. According to the source, as at December 1997, Tropical Glass Factory's total indebtedness was ?300 million but on several occasions that the company was disconnected the ECG had an order from above to reconnect them and this resulted in the shooting of the debt to the ?1.46 billion mark.

In a related development, the ECG (Western Region) has embarked on a mass disconnection exercise in the Sekondi-Takoradi metropolis to compel its customers to settle their arrears.

Source: Ghanaian Chronicle