By Amin Kef Sesay
On the 19th and 20th October 2020 the Anti-Corruption Commission’s Elite Scorpion Squad, acting on reliable and cogent information has arrested ten members of staff of EDSA who are believed to have facilitated the embezzlement of over 1Billion Leones of public revenue over a period of just 6 months. These are monies believed to have been paid by large companies and enterprises.
This corrupt scheme, it was learnt, was carried out by these staff who having sent bills to various companies and enterprises would then collect the checks themselves from these tax payers and work with bank staff to facilitate the diversion and deposit of these checks into personal accounts from where the money can be re-accessed and shared.
Not yet unclear is how the EDSA financial accounting structures failed to detect such an existing loophole considering the volume of money involved; but the ACC said it will also be further investigate the issue.
The Elite Scorpion squad of the ACC brought the 3 arrested members of staff to the ACC head office and they are currently assisting with investigations in what is believed to be a racket that has enriched lower and top Management staff of the EDSA at the expense of the institution. It was learnt that more arrests will be made in the coming days,
In a related matter a Press Release dated 19th October 2020 issued by the Ministry of Energy, that entity, acknowledged knowledge of a Press Release from the Anti- Corruption Commission dated 19 October, 2020 with the caption: “ACC’s Scorpion Squad Hits EDSA Billing Section, Arresting 3 Staff”.
The Ministry furthered how it wants the general public to know that it is in full support of the ACC’s operation also stating that the said operation is one of the products of a Memorandum of Understanding that the Minister of Energy signed with the Anti-Corruption Commission some months ago.
It could be recalled that the Minister of Energy, Alhaji Kanja Sesay, had sought the expertise and intervention of the ACC in helping his Ministry and EDSA deal with the rampant cases of electricity theft or abstraction, instances of open or secret subornation and procedural improprieties.
A few weeks after the MoU was signed, the ACC swung into action, raiding industries and business entities suspected or alleged to be involved in acts of illegal electricity abstraction.
The Ministry affirmed that it is making it abundantly clear that it will always cooperate with the ACC in addressing the issue of corruption in the energy sector.
It urged members of the public to bring to the attention of the Ministry cases of electricity theft or abstraction maintaining that the Ministry and EDSA is assuring all of their statutory commitment to providing affordable and reliable electricity for every Sierra Leonean.