Did the US Embassy err in bill banter with ECG?

Did the US Embassy err in bill banter with ECG?
Source: Ghana|Myjoyonline.com|Nathan Gadugah
Date: 20-05-2017 Time: 06:05:30:pm

It is emerging that the American Embassy may have goofed in the ongoing media banter with Ghana's electricity distributor over the state of indebtedness by the Embassy.

Email conversation between an embassy official and ECG personnel intercepted by Myjoyonline.com indicate that the Embassy has paid its bills to March 2017.

The details of the email conversation contradicts earlier suggestions by the Embassy that the Electricity Corporation of Ghana has failed to collect debts owed it by the Embassy.

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On May 17, 2017, the Embassy sent a number of tweets suggesting it owes the ECG not because it doesn't want to pay but the officials at ECG have been unable to collect the money.

The tweet further indicated that the Embassy is engaging with the ECG in order for them to pay the money.

The tweet was to confirm a comment made by the Energy Minister Boakye Agyarko that the ECG has been inefficient in collecting debts owed it by some major consumers.

"American Embassy has 160 facilities in Ghana. They have not been billed for two years. So they went to ECG and said ‘look, we owe you money. Bring us a bill. Bring us pre-paid meters.

"We will use it for one year, and whenever we use, we will multiply it by 3 and give it to you.’ Up to now, the ECG hasn’t been able to do that,” the minister said during discussions with a section of the media on the Power Compact agreement.

To confirm the minister's comment the Embassy tweeted as follows;

The Public Utilities Workers Union (PUWU) however denied that the ECG has failed to collect debts owed the Company.

The ECG came under public attack and ridicule from Ghanaians for refusing to collect monies owed it at a time the company is reeling under heavy debts.

In a new twist to the tale, Myjoyonline.com has intercepted a document, an email conversation between an Embassy Official on the schedule of payment of bills, James Asangsia, and officials at the ECG in which Mr Asangnia is vehemently denying that the Embassy is indebted to the ECG.

He sent the mail at 12:56 PM GMT hours on May 17, after the Embassy had tweeted. He may not have seen the tweet.

Sources say Mr Asangnia was out on vacation but when he heard the comments by the minister he decided to send the email to officials of ECG to deny the claims by the minister.

The email titled "Status of US Embassy ECG Bill Payments" quoted Mr Asangnia as saying, "it is not just alarming but worrying and also contradicting."

"1. The Embassy Compound ECG paid up to March  2017.

"2.Holland residences ECG paid up to March 2017.

"3. Residential ECG paid up to February 2017..." the email said among other things.

Myjoyonline.com has also sighted receipts of payment of electricity by the US embassy to March 2017, confirming the claims by officials of PUWU. Some of  the receipts are attached as follows;

On Joy FM's news analysis programme Newsfile, a panel member Kofi Bentil and Vice President of Imani Ghana also confirmed that the US Embassy had paid its bills owed to the ECG and was inaccurate for anyone to suggest that the ECG is owed by the Embassy for two years.

Attempts by Myjoyonline.com to get in touch with James Asangia to explain the details of the email also proved futile.

An automatic repIy received for an email sent to him said: "I will be out of the office for the period of 15th May to 3rd June 2017."

The US embassy will also neither confirm the identity of James Asangia nor the existence of the email.

Sara Stealy, spokesperson at the US Embassy told Myjoyonline.com: "We are unable to confirm the identities of employees," she said but added that "we are still in talks with the ECG over debt payment."

She insisted that the Embassy is indebted to the ECG for two years and they are working things out to pay.

 

 

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