Workers of the Electricity Company of Ghana have debunked Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia’s accusation of sabotage regarding ransomware attacks and resistance to the digitalization process of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG).

In a press release issued by the Public Utilities Workers Union (PUWU) of the Trades Union Congress (Ghana), ECG employees stated on record that, the ICT department of ECG initiated digitalization efforts as far back as July 2016, with the rollout of the ECG Power App and USSD services.

“The ICT Directorate already spearheaded the digitalization of ECG payment systems with the rollout of the ECG Power App and USSD (*226#) services dating back to July 2016. His Excellency the Vice President was invited as a guest of honor on the 18th of February 2020 to launch the ECG Power App at the Head Office of ECG. This launch was widely covered in both the electronic and print media.”  The statement said.

The statement signed by Michael Adumatta Nyantakyi, General Secretary of PUWU, emphasized, “The accusations of sabotage and resistance to digitalization are not only unfounded but also damaging to the morale and reputation of our hardworking members.”

Responding to allegations made by the Vice President during the African Anti-corruption Agencies conference, the ECG workers assert that the ICT staff of ECG were not involved in sabotaging the payment system through ransomware attacks. Nyantakyi stated, “The sophisticated ransomware attack attributed to internal sabotage has been proven to be the work of an international cybercriminal group (Lockbit), which further exonerates our members from such erroneous claims.”

“The first ransomware attack occurred on September 28, 2022, which took a wide scope prompting the need to report the incident to the Cyber Security Authority, as required by regulation. The National Security thereafter took over the ECG ICT system as the attack was seen as a threat to national security.

In the midst of the takeover, the second and most severe of the ransomware attacks occurred on the 11th of November 2022, at the time the National Security personnel had both full physical access and software administrative rights to all ECG systems. The National Security arrested and detained some ECG ICT staff for days but were later released.

The statement highlighted the proactive role of ECG ICT staff in recovering systems during ransomware attacks.

“We wish to state that it was the ECG ICT staff who used their system recovery strategy and worked tirelessly day and night to restore the systems and even assisted the National Security operatives on how to operate the ECG systems. The ECG ICT staff led the recovery effort, with the support of the E-crime Bureau, a cyber security firm, invited by the ECG Board”

They raised concerns about the security implications of sharing source code with external parties, questioning whether this compromised ECG’s network security.

Disputing Revenue Increase Claims

Disputing claims by Dr. Bawumia of a significant revenue increase post-digitalization from Ghc450,000 to Ghc1,000,000 monthly, the ECG staff cited public records from ECG’s 2019 Annual Report, which indicate a marginal rise in average monthly revenue.

“ECG’s financial performance is a matter of public record, as indicated in the company’s 2019 Annual Report. The average monthly revenue for the period 2017 to 2019 was around GHS532.7 million. In the 2023 signed SIGA – ECG Performance Contract, the average monthly revenue is GHS631.3 million as at early 2022. These documents are available to the public on the ECG website”.

The statement said, “We further wish to put on record that the enhancement of aspects of digitalization into ECG work processes by the current Management has improved convenience to our customers and commitment exhibited by staff has been the pivot of any observed Improvement especially in the area of revenue mobilization”.

Lastly, the workers expressed awareness of attempts to privatize ECG and urged stakeholders to refrain from disparaging hardworking members.

“We are fully aware of the several attempts by some key stakeholders to push for the privatization of ECG and the deliberate attempt to give ECG a bad name and hang it. We urge key stakeholders to refrain from disparaging our hardworking members and instead recognize their contributions to national development, in the face of many challenges including the shortage of critical resources for smooth operations” The statement concluded.

Source: Ghana/ Ansah