By Elkass Sannoh
“Our nation would not develop with inadequate and unreliable access to electricity,” President Ernest Bai Koroma, at the launch of the Energy Revolution programme at Bintumani International Conference Center in Freetown on Tuesday 10 May, 2016.
Today, the country’s Energy sector is challenged despite the proactive rebranding by President Ernest Bai Koroma to make this sector more effective in providing the required services.
This robust effort to provide satisfactory electricity supply has been stalled by some corrupt officials at the Electricity Distribution and Supply Authority (EDSA).
The latest is the whopping amount used by EDSA Board/Management to pay for a new office accommodation for two years whilst the headquarters (former NPA building on Siaka Stevens Street) undergoes rehabilitation due to the numerous fire incidents.
Findings made by The Voiceless Sierra Leoneans state that EDSA has secured a new office at Highi Broad Street, Murray Town, West end of Freetown from a Lebanese business guru, Hassan Kabala. It is reported that before the recent action by President Koroma to sack the entire Board members, a deal was struck by EDSA Board/Management to approve the alleged 1.2 Billion Leones each for two years rent. Irrespective of the many criticisms/denial from certain quarters, the money has been approved and payment made to the Lebanese business man (Kabala) who owns Payless Supermarket at Wilkinson Road.
Before the extravagant payment of this rent (a reported total of 2.4 billion Leones), information reaching The Voiceless Sierra Leoneans confirmed that another mismanagement which brought misunderstanding among EDSA Board/Management was the procurement of faulty Meters over millions of United States Dollars. These meters which were bought for sidekicks is now a burden to EDSA as in one of their senior management meetings, it was stated that staff of EDSA should desist from issuing those meters to customers because it has the propensity to cause danger. The unanswered question is, why EDSA Board/Management approved the procurement of those faulty meters?
In one of his resounding promises, President Koroma said: “Government has set concrete goals for 2017. As part of our recovery priorities, we have committed to double access to electricity from 125,000 to 250,000 households and before I leave office, all 149 chiefdoms will enjoy access to energy.” The million dollar question is, will President Koroma’s ambitious dream be achieved?
If President Koroma only sack without asking culprits to return such huge amount (procurement of fake meters) corruption will continue to be the rule rather than the exception.
Efforts to get responses from EDSA proved futile despite the many calls and text messages sent to Mr. Sahr Nepo. EDSA’s responses would be reported after hearing from them.
Meanwhile, State House yesterday evening issued a press release on the sacking of EDSA’s current Board members. The release did not state tangible reason/s but went on to confirm that President Koroma has replaced them with a “Caretaker Board” comprising Engineer Trudi Morgan; Idrissa Alouma Kamara; Bockarie Kakay; Alpha Jalloh and Mohamed Abu Sesay to superintend the affairs of EDSA until further notice.