Story: Kwame Asare Boadu, Kumasi
THE Kumasi High Court has ordered the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) to pay GH¢22,030 in general and special damages to a customer for illegal disconnection.
In a landmark ruling, the court, presided over by Mr Justice Frank Amoah, also awarded GH¢2,000 costs against the ECG.
The order followed a suit filed by the proprietor of New Oxford International School in Kumasi, Nana Paul Kwame Boateng, praying the court for damages against the ECG for its action against him.
In 2007, Nana Boateng, who is also a resident of Ayigya, a suburb of Kumasi, filed the suit at the court against the ECG, claiming damages for illegal disconnection of electricity supply to his residence on May 30, 2007.
The plaintiff said as a result of the disconnection, prescribed drugs kept in his refrigerator for his sustenance got destroyed.
He averred that on that day, a worker of the company visited his house and told him that he (plaintiff) had some outstanding bills to settle.
According to the plaintiff, all attempts to convince the officer that he had paid his bills were disregarded by the officer, who proceeded to disconnect supply to his residence.
The plaintiff said the disconnection to his house, seven clear days after he had settled the bill, was “deliberate, actuated by malice and without any lawful justification”.
In a statement of claim accompanying the writ, the plaintiff stated that the ECG’s act was an affront to his dignity and a calculated attempt to defame him and cast a slur on his reputation as an aspirant to the Asokore Stool.
The statement pointed to the mode and unprofessional manner in which the ECG agent went about the disconnection, which attracted several people to the scene, thereby lowering his (plaintiff’s) esteem in the eyes of such people and exposing him to hatred, contempt and ridicule.
In its ruling, the court indicated that the action of the agent of the ECG was unjustifiable.
The court described the ECG’s defence as lame because in this computer age, the company should have taken steps to update its day-to-day operations and know who was in default of payment of bills.
According to the court, if the agent had exercised a little restraint, no inconvenience would have been caused to the plaintiff, hence the ECG being held liable for the damages.