Sierra Leone media icon – Philip Neville and others arrested by police

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 6 October 2021:

Sierra Leone police yesterday granted bail to nine people working at the popular Star Radio station after they were arrested and detained at the CID headquarters in Freetown, over allegations of illegal electricity connectivity from the national grid without paying.

The Proprietor of Star Radio Philip Neville (Photo) and the Station Manager – Abdul Rahman, are reported to be in police custody despite appeals for their release on bail.

According to reports, the police raided the radio station on Monday morning on allegations of “illegal abstraction of electricity”, a crime very common in Sierra Leone which is costing the government millions of dollars a year. Many are accusing the government of failing to meaningfully address this menace.

The entire staff of the Star Radio station were arrested and detained at the CID in Freetown, sparking further debate about the illegal tapping into the national electricity grid by businesses across the country.

The country’s journalist’s association – SLAJ is said to have secured the release of the 9 members of staff of Star Radio, excluding the proprietor Philip Neville and the station manager Abdul Rahman.

They are all expected to appear in court today to answer to the charges of electricity theft.

Philip Neville is a fierce critic of the government. He is also the owner of the Standard Times  Newspaper and Star TV. This is one of his recent critiques of the government published by his Standard Times newspaper:

LEGAL LINK – are calling for Neville’s release:

6 Comments

  1. It will be a shame if those allegedly involved in stealing power supply are found guilty by the court. Because much is expected from our journalists as they are the voices of the populace, and for them to be practicing such act, is below the belt. Being labeled as distinguish journalists by the Legal link , is a call that needs to be reserved till the court findings/ verdicts are out. Being distinguish in whatever you do, does not permit you to go against the rules of law. If we want Sierra Leone to progress and prosper, we all most play by the rules of the land and pay our taxes and dues be you President, ministers, politicians, market traders, students and the list goes on and on.

  2. Clearly if this Radio Station and it proprietors are guilty of theft of electricity and water supply, they should face the music. At the end of the day it is the responsibility of every citizen to live by the rules and regulations that govern the affairs of the state. Public utilities is only going to functions if everyone plays by the rules. And dilivery of those services hinge on people paying their bills and taxes towards the running of the affairs of the state. Here again Mr Phillip Neivelle and Mr Kamara are not some any “Raray” boys that lives in a pan body in the back streets of Kroo Bay and tampering with the electricity supply cables to game the system. We know electricity theft is common. And the biggest thieves are our politicians. Because no one goes in to their gated homes, without prior appointment. Now regarding this case, Mr Neivelle and Mr Kamara are highly educated people that are running a Radio station, with staff that have to be paid their wages and keeps the lights on, and the water supply running in their offices.

    And as the report suggested a fierce critic of the do nothing Bio government. That in itself is a crime under this government. Moreover, what we have seen with the Bio government, any criticism of his government, is met by an overwhelming force by the SLPP police. Despite all the bluster of the respect of the Freedom of expression under Bio, we know Freedom of expression is regulated by the Sierra Leone police. It seems there is an army of Free lance Sierra Leone police hackers sitting in smoked filled rooms at CID headquarters in Freetown monitoring the activities of ordinary citizens. The questions then you asked, which are vital to understand the dynamics of what is at play here is that :When did the electricity and water companies became aware of the criminal intent of the Radio station and its management?

    And how long has it been going on for? Was Mr Neivelle and Mr Kamara served a notice to the effects, so maybe they have an explanation. Might have been something they are not aware of. It can happen. Effecting a warrant of arrest can only take effects if they have originally being approached and admitted to knowingly diverting electricity and water supply to save few Leones here and there. And when asked to pay the difference, refush to do so. Maybe involving the courts rather than the police makes more sense. Maybe the neighbours might have hacked in to their electricity and water supply and is getting it for free. Right now I suspect Bio is back to his old tricks.

  3. While it’s abhorrent and unpatriotic for any business or individual to be engaging in illegal electricity tapping, one has to reflect on the broader systemic thieving and corrupt actions taking place in the very eyes of the public domain by government officials with absolutely no consequences or ramifications. The lack of leadership and chronic corrupt practices by government officials have become so endemic that, ordinary citizens have been force to devise illicit means to obtain what they consider as their own share of the national coffers.

    In other words if the ‘big men’ can steal what belongs to the ‘little guys’, with absolutely no consequences, the little guys will indeed find ways to steal from the same stash. So while political bootlickers, especially those on turns a blind eye on the thieving and corrupt practices of their masters are quick to point the finger at the opposition and proclaim sabotage, i see this issue of electricity theft as being a causal effect of the actions being carryout by the very people at the top. Make no mistake, the citizen’s actions and attitude towards public assets and services definitely have a correlation with the political leadership actions of that nation.

  4. I am astounded by the comments of legal link at the tail end of the article. What has freedom of speech and exceeding in one’s profession got to do with criminal matters, in this particular instance, theft of national electricity supply?

    On 21 September this August paper published a story about the formation of a task force to go after those who have been milking dry the national electricity supply through illegal connections. Now Mr. Neville who should live by example has been unmask as a hypocrite who preaches one thing and yet lives and dwell in the same things he castigate others for. I pray that the law would take it course. People should be punished appropriately for theft of and destruction of public property. Below is the link to the article published by this noble newspaper.
    https://www.thesierraleonetelegraph.com/energy-minister-unveils-task-force-to-fight-against-electricity-theft/

  5. It’s a shame for a whole Radio Station to be involved in Electricity theft. They should have been patriotic enough to pay their fair share of the country’s economy. Unfortunately the average Sierra Leone believe that water and electricity bills are the responsibility of “Papa government”.

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