General Manager of Radisson Blu Hotel & Others Arrested

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By Amin Kef Sesay

The Radisson Blu Mammy Yoko Hotel, located in Aberdeen, Western Freetown was raided on the 25th March 2020 by the Anti-Corruption Commission’s Scorpion Squad and some workers of the Energy Ministry. The raid was part of a crackdown on corruption in the energy sector especially electricity abstraction. During the raid, the combined team discovered extensive improper connections and unmetered sources of electricity consumption. The Manager and other staff were arrested during the process.

The raid came in the wake of an intelligence surveillance and confirmation and is part of series of sting operations aimed at clamping down on electricity abstraction across Freetown by mainly large electricity consumers who are avoiding paying their fair and rightful bills for electricity consumption, including other corrupt practices in the sector that have led to perennial revenue loss to the EDSA and the Energy sector.

According to EDSA technical staff, who went to inspect the Radisson Blu Mammy Yoko Hotel electricity installations 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 unmetered on the High Voltage power line and only metered on the low voltage line. This entire installation was done by the Hotel without EDSA’s approval. As a result, for over a year, the EDSA has been losing Billions of Leones from this illegal and improper connection by a High Consumer Customer like the Radisson Blu Hotel.

What also came out clearly is that the initial metering system set up by EDSA had been bypassed through a new installation put up by the Management of the Radisson Blu Hotel, who admitted but claimed that it was the contractor of CEC, a foreign energy company that installed the system over a year ago, but did not follow the required process.

EDSA staff also found new transformer systems installed at the Hotel without, it is claimed, the knowledge of the EDSA, of which one was discovered not to be billed through EDSA meter systems, thereby causing the Authority huge loss in revenue.

There were also issues of the Hotel Management, due to the new installations, converting energy consumed by the Hotel from High Voltage (HC) to Low Current (LC) and reverting their billing system from Pre-paid to post-paid, without going through the proper processes.

From preliminary investigations and if all what EDSA discovered holds true, as further investigations towards proving all these issues continue, the Management of the Radisson Blu Hotel may have flouted EDSA electricity utilization regime bordering on corruption and revenue diversion. The two Hotel officials, including its General Manager, George Bellasis, have been released on bail by the ACC and are expected to appear at the Commission on Thursday to continue assisting with the investigation.

The crackdown on Radisson Blu Mammy Yoko Hotel follows a recent sting operation on LEOCEM Cement Factory in Cline Town, on Friday March 20, arresting six officials for similar instances of improper connections leading to massive revenue loss.

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