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The LEC against itself

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Services provided by the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) to the public leave much to be desired despite huge investment in that entity. Current situation at that entity is characterized by managerial in-fighting at the detriment of customers. As the LEC continues to raise fist against itself, business entities, residential homes, ordinary Liberians and the general public are left alone with little or no services at all.

News that ESB International, the private company contracted by the Government of Liberia to manage the LEC is alleging the existence of a rogue element within the corporation that is deliberately, and in many cases, bypassing control procedures and necessary organizational changes is a stab in the back of the corporation.

In clear terms, ESB International has reportedly written an official complaint to the Board of Director against Deputy Managing Director, Joseph Howe for thwarting initiatives aimed at bringing major breakthroughs to LEC.

ESB International is a private company hired by the Government of Liberia under the Millennium Challenge Compact Agreement to manage the LEC. In accordance with the agreement, the former is to create an operationally efficient and profitable utility that is financially viable. But nine months into the management of the LEC, ESB International complains the appointment of Mr. Howe as Deputy Managing Director, poses hindrances to the efficient execution of its duties and meeting objectives planned.

From the onset, the LEC has had serious problem with power distribution to communities across Montserrado County and the rest of Liberia, denying thousands of residents and businesses access to electricity. Meanwhile, elements within the corporation are often in cohort with some unscrupulous members of the public to carry on theft or steal from the entity.

Power theft has robbed the corporation of badly needed funds, and denied services to the rest of the public. But few individuals at various levels continue to line their pockets with cash that could help in boosting the financial base of the entity to enable it distributes power proportionally.

“The fundamental reason for the delay in breakthrough is the undermining of those change initiatives that are essential to improve the culture of non-payment for electricity supplied by LEC in Liberia,” ESB International further notes in its complaint.

When a public corporation such as LEC cries wolf, while self-destroying or stealing from itself, it is nothing but a disservice to the State and its people. We recommend a major shakeup in that public entity to get things right.

Former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was constrained to change the entire LEC management team in 2016 after she inaugurated the entity due to the lack of accountability. It is not only a disgrace, but complete disappointment that after partners had spent several millions of their taxpayers’ moneys to help restore electricity to Liberia, we Liberians are undermining ourselves. It is too bad.

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