Did Manitoba Hydro International ‘Misuse’ U.S.$42 Million At LEC?

Rep. Saah Joseph of Montserrado County District #13, in a letter to his colleagues in the House, has requested that the management team of the Manitoba Hydro International Limited (MHI) that has managed the Liberia Electricity Corporation for five years be invited to explain what he claimed to be the ‘mismanagement of US$42m’ belonging to the LEC.

Rep. Joseph did not provide specific details about his claim, but said the five-year contract with the Canadian firm was contrary to the aim to expand electricity production of the national power grid.

In a letter to House Speaker J. Emmanuel Nuquay, Rep. Joseph claimed that the management of MHI has performed dismally and wants the Legislature to abort the signing of any new agreement with MHI to manage the LEC.

“The dismal performance of MHI under the then management contractual agreement is clearly visible for all to see as evidenced by the constant falling of poles with livewires which pose death threats in residential areas; the prolonged power cuts and the relatively slow rate of connecting households in Monrovia and its environs. These are some of the problems left behind by MHI under the multi-million dollar agreement to manage the LEC,” Rep. Joseph wrote.

Without making reference to the gradual installation of turbines at the Mount Coffee Hydro Plant, Rep. Joseph added that: “Compounded with the problems listed above, MHI depleted the LEC coffers of 42 million United States Dollars, leaving the current interim management team cash strapped to properly manage the entity effectively.

“In spite of these bottlenecks, the current management team in a short period of two months connected a little over 5,000 households to the national electricity grid and has increased the revenue generating capacity of this entity. The management team is vigorously combating the power theft menace,” added.

In his letter, Rep. Joseph further informed his colleagues that the Board of Directors of the LEC is poised to enter into a new agreement with the Manitoba Hydro International (MHI). He acknowledged “the competence of the Interim Management Team and the high level of professionalism which it has exhibited in such a short period since the MHI management agreement expired,
“I am of the strong opinion that this step is ill-timed and it does not serve the best interest of our people,” Saah Joseph stated in his letter.

Following the reading, the letter was forwarded to the Committees on Public Utilities and Contract and Monopolies to review and advise the House.

By Leroy M. Sonpon, III

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Source: Liberian Observer

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