By Ragan M. Conteh
It could be recalled that the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Energy to ensure that, those illegally connecting electricity to their residences, business places and company offices, were arrested and charged to court.
Even when such MoU is in existence, several business places have still gone ahead conniving with technicians to deprive the Paopa government from electricity revenue generation in Sierra Leone.
The Chairman of the Oversight Committee on Energy, Hon. Keikura K. Vandy, has singled out, on Tuesday 25th August 2020, the Capitol Hotel and investment in Kenema to be investigated for electricity theft.
Hon. Vandy pointed out that, when the Committee went on Oversight Functions recently in Kenema, he dispatched some Parliamentarians to crosscheck on how Capitol was connected to electricity or how they use electricity.
He said MPs found out that there was illegal electricity connection to Capital investment, which has resulted into government’s deprivation of collecting much needed revenue in Kenema City.
“Mr. Minister, even though the Management of Capitol denied any illegal connection, I am pretty sure that they have. And, as Committee, we urged the ministry to go after Capitol Investment in Kenema for electricity theft,” Hon. Vandy said.
Some of the Members, on the Committee on Energy, have reiterated that, if Capitol engaged on illegal electricity connection, it is a backstab on President Julius Maada Bio’s New Direction Government, which is working tirelessly to ensure that development is visible in not only Kenema District but nationwide.
The Minister of Energy, Hon. Alhaji Kanjah Sesay, pointed out that the Oversight Committee Report in Parliament will serve as a guide to the Ministry of Energy, adding that the challenges of the ministry are so huge that it cannot solve them overnight.
He said his ministry was happy about the report, adding his ministry will study the report submitted by the Committee and will respond later. The Minister expressed appreciation to the Oversight Committee on Energy in Parliament for such a report that aims at restoring sanity on electricity. He added that the report will be looked into very seriously.
The Director General of EGTC, EDSA, and Chairman of Energy all made similar sentiments. He said they have signed an MOU with the ACC to help the Ministry of Energy to curb the illegal connections and electricity theft in the country.
In a similar vein, the Oversight Committee on Water Resources, chaired by Hon. Lahai Marah representing Constituency 042 in Koinadugu District, has given a grace period to 167 water companies in which Capitol Investment in Kenema was included, in order for them to adhere to Standards Bureau and Electricity and Water Regulatory Commission operational standards and procedures.
The Chairman of Water Resources, Hon. Lahai Marah, informed MPs and host of water companies’ representatives that, most water companies, currently producing sachets and bottle water in the country, do not go through registration and do not also adhere to the standards set up by Standards Bureau and Electricity and Water Regulatory Commission in the country.
Hon. Lahai Marah pointed out that his Committee would closedown water companies including Capitol if they are not in compliance with the Standards Bureau and Electricity and Water Regulatory Commission documentations.
According to Hon. Lahai Marah, most of these water companies sell acidic water to the public and also lack standards, adding that, out of a total of 167 water companies, only 15 companies are legally registered and passed water tests in Sierra Leone.
Hon. Lahai Marah informed his audience that only 15 companies out of 167 have certificates of Analysis, Justness and Standards SLS 21, SLS 22 and SLS 28, which are indicators that indicate water sold to the general public was effective and clean for consumption.
Hon. Marah went on that these standards are mandatory for all water companies operating in Sierra Leone, adding that any company that is yet to meet to such standards but still operating in the country will be closedown uncompromisingly after the grace period or subsequently face the full force of the laws of the country.