David Lee, a Nigerian national, who was arrested last October for electricity theft, has pleaded guilty to all counts brought against him by the Grand Jury of Montserrado County as contained in his indictment. Following his guilty plea, Judge J. Boima Kontoe, assigned Circuit Judge Criminal Court C adjudged the defendant guilty.
Defendant Lee was indicted for theft of property, Economic Sabotage/Fraud on Internal Service of Liberia and Criminal Trespass valued at US$350,000.00. By the guilty plea, the defendant waived his right to trial by jury or bench.
On October 17, 2018, a joint team of the Energy Monitoring Unit of the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) and the Liberia National Police (LNP) during routine patrol, arrested Lee, a notorious electricity thief, on a light pole doing illegal connections between the Center and Benson Streets intersection around the Total Gas Station. Defendant Lee operated an illegal distribution point in his bed room that was used to connect homes to the LEC power grid. The investigation also uncovered that each subscriber paid the defendant US$40.00 for his illegal services.
During Friday’s proceeding, the Prosecution led Counselor Bobby Livingstone of the Sannoh and Partners prayed the court to amend the indictment to reflect the amount of US$53,000.00. Judge Kontoe accepted the motion and the indictment was amended and read to the defendant before his guilty plea.
Following the guilty plea, defense lawyer, Counselor Rachel Yaboh-Duobah appealed to the court to tender justice with mercy, lamenting that the defendant regrets his action.
“Defendant has been communicating to his counsel at all the pre-trail conferences that his action is regrettable and therefore ask for mercy,” Cllr. Yaboh-Duobah emphasized. She further prayed the court to conduct a presentence investigation, a motion that was granted by the judge.
The defendant is expected to be sentenced after the conduct of the presentence investigation and submission of the report to the court. Judge Kontoe ordered the Probation Services of the Ministry of Justice to conduct the presentence investigation within seven (7) days and submit report of its findings and recommendations.
Mambu James Kpargoi, Communications Manager of the LEC described the defendant’s guilty plea and the court’s judgment as monumental milestones in the fight against electricity theft. The case, Kpargoi said, serves as a deterrence to other individuals engage in the crime, which is undermining the sustainability of the LEC, which sabotaging the economy.
“This case is a major boost to the fight against electricity theft. This reinforces our campaign against electricity theft, which is negatively impacting the corporation’s revenue.