The Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi Limited (ESCOM) on Tuesday, 17 July 2018, disconnected power supply to Maziko Factory, a cement block making entity at Lunzu in Blantyre City over illegal connection. Three suspects have also been arrested and are remanded at Ndirande Police Station in connection with the crime.
Owner of the factory Peter Njunga said in an interview that he had applied to ESCOM for power supply for his factory and had been provided with a quotation of up to K4.5 million. Njunga alleged that he was later approached by Innocent Sonora and two other suspects, Nacho Mulira and Collins Manjita, who purported to be ESCOM employees. He alleged that the trio offered to provide him the power connection at a reduced price of K1.5 million.
Sonora and his colleagues used materials suspected to have been stolen from ESCOM and other cheaply sourced electric materials to supply power to Maziko Factory. The three suspects will face charges of illegal supply of electricity contrary to section 45 of the Electricity Act. If convicted, the suspects will be liable to a fine of K5 million and ten years imprisonment with hard labour.
Blantyre Police Public Relations Officer, sub-Inspector Augustus Nkhwazi warned the public against unscrupulous individuals who purport to represent ESCOM and offer services. He urged the public to pay for ESCOM services at ESCOM counters and not to any individuals even those loitering at ESCOM premises.
ESCOM Public Relations Manager, Innocent Chitosi, warned that illegal connections affect supply of electricity to customers and negatively affect ESCOM’s revenue collection.
“We have received reports from our domestic customers in the area that since the factory opened its doors, power supply to their houses has been intermittent. You may have also noted that parts of our transformer have been burnt out, all because the illegal connection created an overload on our system,” Chitosi said.
ESCOM is undertaking inspections which continue to uncover the illegal connections and meter by-passes. The inspections recently uncovered a complicated syndicate that allegedly connected over 50 premises in Blantyre City. Just a month ago, ESCOM also uncovered another racket that robbed it of K15 million in Lilongwe City.
The Corporation is appealing to customers who know or suspect that they might have been illegally connected to report to their nearest ESCOM offices. ESCOM will enter into discussions with such customers for an amicable settlement. However, where ESCOM discovers such customers through its own investigations, the whole installation will be removed and the law will take its course.
ESCOM engineer disconnecting electricity supply from Maziko Factory at Lunzu in Blantyre City over illegal connection.