Consistent with its quest to eradicate electricity theft, the Joint Field Presidential Task Force on Electricity Theft has yesterday the 21st of September 2021, informed galaxy of journalists that the task force has clamped down on sixty-two people who have been engaged in electricity and transformer theft.
The said task force on electricity theft comprises the Ministry of Energy, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Defense, the Office of the National Security, the Sierra Leone Police and the Electricity Distribution and Supply Authority (EDSA).
At the official launch of the task force during a special press conference held at the Ministry of Information and communications, the Minister of Energy Alhaji Kanja Sesay noted that he inherited a very derelict electricity supply situation. He added that energy generation, distribution and transmission is a very capital-intensive project and therefore, government alone cannot provide all the resources required to generate electricity.
He also disclosed that the team which comprises of the police, military, the ONS and staff from the Ministry of Energy are now on the street in search of those bandits engaged in electricity theft.
He said the task force has started operation and its operation will be expanded across the country.
In order to make the task force more effective, Alhaji Kanja Sesay said they have appealed to the Attorney General and Minister of Justice to set up a special electricity crime court. He was pleased to announce that the courts have been established so that when people are arrested for electricity theft and will be subjected to an expeditious trial.
He furthered that the New Direction Government started with a partnership and that such response has been positive so far. He disclosed that government has increased energy access through the commissioning of new projects from 15% they inherited to 31%.
Alhaji Kanja Sesay however, expressed his dismay that despite the gains made in the energy sector so far, there are people who are not happy with those gains and resulted to frustrating government efforts by engaging in electricity theft and vandalisation of transformers.
“The vandalization of our transformers has increased. Each time people vandalize one transformer, an average transformer service users of four hundred-five hundred people will be deprived of electricity. So I was directed by the President to escalate this to a level of action in eradicating electricity theft”, said Alhaji Kanja Sesay.
In his statement, the Inspector General of Police Dr. Ambrose Sovula encouraged the Mass Media to help cascade the massage far and wide that electricity theft is no longer fashionable especially with the formation of the task force.
Dr. Sovula acknowledged that energy is power adding that, if people are to grow as a nation, they most stand up and embrace energy generation that could be used in factories which in return provides employment for the country.
He furthered that they are ready to support the newly constituted presidential task force on energy theft for its successful implementation. He warned that all those who have been in habit of electricity theft, and transformer vandalization to desist henceforth. He also disclosed that the police is now working with the military, civil society and the media in order to permanently eradicate electricity theft and transformer vandalization.