October 2, 2022

As crackdown on corruption in the energy sector and illegal electricity abstraction continues, the Radisson Blu, Mammy Yoko Hotel, located in Aberdeen, Western Freetown was, on Wednesday, 25th March 2020, raided by the Anti-Corruption Commission’s Scorpion Squad. During the raid the Squad discovered extensive improper connections and unmetered sources of electricity consumption. This led to the arrest of the Manager of the Hotel and other staff.

Following intelligence surveillance and confirmation, the raid, on the Radisson Blu Hotel, was part of a series of sting operations aimed at clamping down on electricity abstraction across Freetown by mainly large electricity consumers, who are evading the payment of the real and actual bills for electricity consumption, including other corrupt practices in the sector that have led to perennial revenue loss to the energy sector.

According to EDSA technical staff that went to inspect the Radisson Blu Hotel electrical 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 approval. As a result, for over a year, 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 clear was that the initial metering system set up by EDSA, which had been bypassed through a new installation put up by the Management of the Radisson Blu Hotel, who admitted, but claimed that it was their contractor, CEC, a foreign energy company which installed the system over a year ago, but did not follow the required process, EDSA confirmed.

EDSA staff also found new transformer systems installed at the Hotel without 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, 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 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. This investigation will include probing the CEC and staff of the EDSA to determine their respective roles in facilitating such conduct for over a year or more; and there could be consequences on all fronts for all involved – including the EDSA staff – where findings so establish.

The two Hotel officials, including its General Manager, George Bellasis, have been released on bail by the ACC and were expected to report to the Commission gone Thursday 26th March 2020 to continue with the Investigations.

The crackdown on Radisson Blu, Mammy Yoko Hotel follows a recent sting operation on LEOCEM Cement Factory in Cline Town, eastern Freetown on Friday 20th March 2020, arresting six officials for similar instances of improper connections leading to massive revenue loss to the Ministry of Energy.