GWCL and a Case of Institutionalised Corruption

There is a video clip running in social media. In it, a pastor was advocating his congregants that those who punch-in underneath of containers they use to measure grains, gari, etc., to sell; those who over-invoice items they buy for their workplace and all those who engage in any form of corruption, must not attack those in authority and call them corrupt.

He warned any of his congregants who has ever done something that can be classified as corrupt against joining any demonstrations that seek to attack corruption in society. They also the problem.

Corruption in Ghana is now legendary. It has spread sway in almost all sectors, public and private. Nurses who are trained to save lives, will rather watch a patient die because she could not pay the GH¢400.00 in cash, they demanded as consultation fee, even though she had it in her MoMo account. The nurses demanded GH¢400.00, when the official consultation fee was GH¢50.00. This is wickedness and corruption at its worse.

The question is, is the hospital administration not aware of this evil going on? Must it cost someone’s life before they sit to investigate what had been always going on?

Corruption alone is one thing, but institutionalized corruption is another thing. This is when in institutions, especially those that render services to the public, corruption is made part of the code of conduct.

One institution which needs to address its way of conduct is Ghana Water Company Ltd. Some years ago, it had tankers, which sent water to places they are needed. The cost of water from the tankers is the same as the cost of water from the tapes.

Then GWCL decided to dispose of their tankers and sold them to people who are in link with some workers of the Company.

So, now when one needs water, he will be given the contact of any driver of these tankers. The arrangement will be made for water to be supplied to the one in need. The price has shot up so high, that what should cost about GH¢56.00 per 10,000 litres when it came directly from the tapes may now cost at least GH¢636.00, when delivered by tankers.

The question is, the fact that the tanker drivers get the water from the GWCL, why is the cost that high? Do the authority or workers in the GWCL get kick backs from the private tanker drivers?

Still on GWCL and something strange happened. Someone had water connected to his premises and after paying service charges, when his first bill came out it showed that he had consumed 25 units and his total bill for the month read GHc 222.68.

Very much alarmed he confronted the GWCL and was politely told that whenever a new service was delivered, the Company will put the bill at 25 units, then it will send someone to go to the house and take the meter reading and come out with the true consumption after which the difference will be struck and refund made, where necessary.

He had already paid GH¢100.00 and so the bill for the month was GH¢122.68. This calm gentleman paid for a staff of GWCL to come over and take the reading. And he paid GH¢150.00 to cover the bill. And he had a credit balance of -GH¢27.32.

The following month bill came and it read that his previous consumption was 25 units and his current was 5 units, so 30 units now read on his account. His monthly total was GH¢34.33.

Readers, here lies the problem. When he demanded from GWCL whether that reflected the true consumption of water since he was rendered service in only two months, the GWCL staff insisted that, yes, his consumption was 30 units.

What happened to the Company’s policy of putting up the initial reading at 25 units and rectifying it after the true reading came?The staff was lost and never came out with any meaningful explanation.

In simple terms, GWCL will put out an imaginary unit of 25 on all new accounts, whether the consumer used up to that or not. Now after the water delivered through the pipes has been automatically calculated, units will be generated and difference between the two will reflect what has been actually consumed.

So, in fairness the consumer should be refunded what he had paid already or credited on account. GWCL is adamant about this and would go round and round explaining to the consumer that the 25 units it placed on account when water has not yet been delivered is legit. It will go back on its word about crediting or refunding what has been paid on the 25 units. And again, the consumer never consumed that much water.

For the units consumed the following month to read 5 units, it clearly means, going by the arithmetic theory of “If-More-Less-Divide,” that in two months, the consumer consumed only 5 units of water.

From the look of things GWCL is short-changing its first-time consumersand in addition to service charges paid, they are made to pay for water they never consumed.

This is one classic example of institutionalized corruption.

Hon Daniel Dugan

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect The Chronicle’s stance.


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