Sierra Leone Telegraph: 19 October 2020:
Sierra Leone’s Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Elite Scorpion Squad today arrested three officials of the Electricity Distribution and Supply Agency’s (EDSA) billing section at Siaka Stevens Street in Freetown.
According to the ACC statement, they are believed to have facilitated the embezzlement of over One Billion Leones of public revenue over a period of just six months, believed to have been paid by large companies and enterprises for electricity consumption.
The corrupt scheme the ACC said, was carried out by the officials who, having sent bills to various customers, would then collect the payments themselves and work with bank staff to facilitate the diversion and deposit of the cheques into personal accounts.
It is yet unclear how the EDSA financial accounting systems failed to detect this loophole, considering the sum of money involved; but this will also be further investigated the ACC said.
The Elite Scorpion Squad of the ACC arrested and took the three officials to the ACC head office where 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. More arrests will be made in the coming days, the ACC said.
In another development, ACC’s Deputy Director of Public Education and Outreach – Patrick Sandy last Thursday, told reporters in Freetown that the ACC will investigate former President Ernest Bai Koroma and all persons of interest named in the Commissions of Inquiry reports, and will not compromise.
He said that if Sierra Leone passes the Transparency International Scorecard, it stands to win $400 million from the US Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) for economic and social development programs.
Speaking at the weekly press conference organized by the Ministry of Information and Communications, Sandy said that Cluster 4 of the government’s National Development Plan mentions corruption and illegal financial flows as threats to the country that must be eliminated by the ACC.
The ACC, Sandy told reporters signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Financial Intelligence Unit and other institutions to help combat corruption, on 8th April 2019.
He also reminded reporters of the improvements he said the government has achieved in fighting corruption, which are reflected in the Transparency International Index, the US Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) control of corruption scorecard, and other corruption perception surveys conducted by the Centre for Accountability and Rule of Law (CARL) and the Institute of Governance Reform.
Sandy also said that the ACC has prioritized its Assets Declaration work and increased penalties for public officials who violate the law. The government he said has established a Special Court with five dedicated judges; recovered Le22 billion from corrupt officials, 2 vehicles, a two-storey building in Koidu City, Kono District; and is planning on its next step to interview Ex-President Ernest Bai Koroma and other persons of interest named in the Commissions of Inquiry reports.