Sierra Leone Telegraph: 14 May 2021:
People are getting tired and fed up of listening to constant whinging by Sierra Leone’s ministry of energy about the alarming rise in the number of people illegally connecting to the national grid without paying for the use of electricity.
When is the ministry of energy going to act, given that it has been promising to take strong measures for the past three years? Are the benefits of bribery and corruption just too alluring to resist?
Last year, the ministry promised to clamp down on the illegal and dangerous tapping into the electricity grid by unscrupulous businesses and people who by their behaviour, are starving the government of much needed revenue, despite rising costs of generating and transmitting electricity in Sierra Leone. (Photo: Energy minister – Kanja Sesay).
Freetown, the capital city continues to suffer frequent and intermittent power cuts, as the government fails to tackle mismanagement of the electricity sector.
Yesterday, the ministry of energy issued yet another useless public statement, saying that “it notes with grave concern and dismay the persistent illegal and unpatriotic activities in the sector, including but not limited to faulty meters, unmetered supply, unregistered meters, vandalization of EDSA facilities and non-charging customers by members of the public and some business organizations.
“The Ministry has observed that despite persistent appeals and public education, unscrupulous citizens and business organizations continue to steal electricity through illegal connections thereby occasioning some serious technical and commercial loss on EDSA.”
But last year the ministry promised to set up a surveillance team comprising of the police, the military and the office of national security to clamp down and punish culprits yet nothing was done. Here we are again, with another public notice making the same useless promise.
“The Ministry wants the general public to know that Government through the Ministry of Energy is setting up a Team comprising the Sierra Leone Police, the Military and Office of the National Security that will be charged with the responsibility of looking into matters of electricity theft and/ or the illegal abstraction of electricity.
“The general public is further informed that the Team will soon start its inspection patrols, and that in the course of their inspection, anyone found wanting of illegally abstracting electricity will face the full force of the law. The Ministry continues to urge all to refrain from such acts and to help report cases that border on electricity theft at the nearest Police Station or to the Ministry of Energy.”
When are paid public servants going to start taking their job seriously in Sierra Leone?