Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has disclosed that some people at the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) intentionally hindered the government’s effort to digitize revenue collection procedures. The digitalization drive, which was led by Dr. Bawumia as part of the Akufo-Addo administration’s agenda, aimed to modernize and simplify revenue collection methods.

Speaking at the Annual AGM of Anti-corruption Agencies in Africa, Dr Bawumia disclosed that certain personnel within the ECG’s IT department introduced ransomware into the system, causing disruptions and hindering the digitalization progress. He elaborated that the ransomware attack led to system failures, resulting in significant challenges. It wasn’t until the intervention of national security that the culprits behind the sabotage were identified.

Dr Bawumia expressed frustration over the deliberate hindrance, highlighting that the ransomware incident was intended to extort money from the government. The perpetrators demanded payment to restore the system functionality, which Dr Bawumia described as unacceptable. Following the discovery and subsequent arrest of those responsible, the system was restored, and the digitalization process resumed. As a result, cash payments for electricity in Ghana were phased out, and replaced by mobile money and electronic bank transfers.

The Vice President emphasized the success of the digitalization efforts, noting a significant increase in revenue collections from over GHC450 million to exceeding a billion cedis monthly. This achievement underscores the positive impact of digitalization on revenue efficiency and transparency in Ghana’s electricity sector. Dr Bawumia said: “They just kept it at GH₵450 million every month. So, I said we needed to send in a team to digitalise the new collection of the Electricity Company of Ghana, so we sent in a team, and we began the process of digitalise.

“Can you believe that workers within the system sabotaged, they put in ransomware into the whole system? And the system essentially collapsed. We had to send in national security to eventually find that it was some of the staff at the IT department who were culpable. “And we found the computer in which the ransomware was injected in the system. It took us a while to restore the system. They asked for a ransom to actually allow for this to work. Can you imagine? That we should pay, they submitted a bill that we should pay for the system to work.

“Anyway, they were arrested. And we restored the system and we digitised the system and we said that no more cash payments for electricity in Ghana. You only pay by your mobile money or electronic bank transfers. So that is now the case. Can you believe that from GH₵450 million a month, collections have now gone to over a billion cedis a month.”

By: Kweku Zurek

Benjamin Mensah

By Benjamin Mensah

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