The Ghana Armed Force (GAF) has now been commercialised with soldiers being rented out as debt collectors for and on behalf of some quasi-state institutions.
The Herald, has in the last few weeks been monitoring an unholy alliance between Ghana’s military and the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) where soldiers move from residence to residence to collect debts owed the state power distributor.
What is interesting is that, the customers are unaware that they are dealing with soldiers from the Ghana Army.
They have been made to dress in civilian clothes, given ECG vests, and sent to town, visiting private homes and businesses every day to collect debts owed to the company.
The soldiers, who are in the company of ECG staff, are also made to carry out disconnection exercises.
It is not clear, if they carry guns with them on the rounds, but there are reports of harassment and manhandling of some residents in some areas.
Presently, the team is at the Kwabenya ECG office in the Greater Accra Region.
They have been there since last week visiting customers who owe the company.
They are expected to continue the exercise for another week.
The Herald’s information is that, they had been to Kasoa in the Central Region, as well as Nungua, Ashaiman and Roman Ridge in the Greater Accra Region for similar exercises.
In the case of the Kwabenya, they are driven in huge military buses to the ECG station early in the morning in their mufti and shared amongst the ECG staff for the day’s debt collection and disconnection exercises. One of the buses has been captured with the registration number as 55- GA -18.
This paper is further informed that, there is always a team of soldiers fully dressed in military camouflage uniform on standby and acting as a backup in the event of any stiff resistance from a customer.
Interestingly, customers are unaware that soldiers have been sent to their homes by the ECG.
Ghana Army, in particular, has in recent times been sent out to guard sand-winning and “Galamsey” pits amongst others.
In the homes of some ministers of state and government appointees, soldiers are there providing security for them, while others are acting as bodyguards.
In March this year, ECG embarked on a massive disconnection exercise in a bid to mobilise revenue.
The exercise, came after the ECG disconnected the Ministry of Energy, plunging the whole place into darkness for almost half a day, only restoring power after the ministry paid ECG their bill in full.
As of Monday March 20, 2023 to Thursday April 20, 2023 other Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) who owe ECG huge amounts of money, were targeted by the power retailer to embark on the massive revenue mobilization exercise.
The exercise had used almost all ECG staff, from top management to junior officers to retrieve all the monies owed to them.
According to the Managing Director, Mr Samuel Dubik Mahama Esq., the company had been owed over GH¢5 billion from the month of September 2022 to February 2023, resides with the SOEs and MDAs.
Again, in May this year, ECG undertook a one- week revenue mobilisation targeted mainly at residential and non-residential customers in its operational areas.
The exercise, which ended on Friday, June 2, 2023, was aimed at retrieving over GhC2 billion from customers.
Under the initiative, the ECG said it was deploying over 4,000 staff to the premises of customers to retrieve money owe it.
At the end of the first exercise the power distributor, said its recovered GH¢3.1 billion out of the targeted GH¢5.7 billion.