The General Manager of Radisson Blu Mammy Yoko Hotel, George Bellasis and one other staff have been arrested. The arrest was for allegedly connecting illegally to electricity by the hotel and them avoiding to pay their fair and rightful bills for over a year.
The arrest was carried out yesterday 25 March 2020 during a raid by the Anti-Corruption Commission’s Scorpion Squad and the Ministry of Energy at the hotel’s premises, Aberdeen Freetown, this was according to improper electrical connections and un-metered sources of electricity consumption.
The raid was part of a series of sting operations aimed at reducing electricity abstraction across Freetown by large electricity consumption institutions, which include other corrupt practices in the sector that have led to perennial revenue loss to EDSA and the Energy Sector.
The Technical Staff from the Electricity Distribution and Supply Agency said there was a clear power supply coming in from two sources into the hotel, one taken from the main poles bordering the Hotel and the Helipad in Aberdeen, which was the EDSA approved dedicated power line and another unapproved line. This unapproved line was partly un-metered on the High Voltage power line and only metered on the low voltage line.
This entire installation was done by the Hotel without EDSA approval. As a result, for over a year, EDSA has been losing Billions of Leones from this illegal and improper connection by a High Consumer Customer like the Radisson Blu Mammy Yoko Hotel, he added.
It was discovered that the meter system set up by EDSA previously was bypassed through new installations set up by the Hotels Management. They also discovered that new transformers and meters have been installed by the hotel for over a year now which did not follow their required process; the meters were also not billed to them.
The Management of the hotel in their defense claimed that the new systems set up was done by the foreign contractor CEC and they were unaware it did not follow the necessary precautions.
Further investigation will be carried out by the ACC and EDSA and the outcome of the investigation would determine if the hotel flouted EDSA electricity utilization regime bordering on corruption and revenue diversion. This investigation will include probing the CEC and staff of the EDSA to determine their roles in facilitating such conduct for over a year, and there could be consequences on all fronts for all involved – including the EDSA staff – where findings are established.
The two Hotel officials have been released on bail by the ACC and are expected to appear at the Commission today Thursday 26th March 2020 to continue assisting with the Investigation.
On Friday 20 March 2020, ACC’s Scorpion Squad and EDSA staff arrested 6 LEOCEM Cement Factory officials for the same offense of illegal connection at Cline Town, Eastern Freetown.
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) and the Ministry of Energy had earlier this month signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the aim of strengthening the relationship and collaboration between the two institutions in order to address issues of corruption in electricity supply and electricity theft.