Five arrested over alleged theft, vandalism of Escom assets in Lilongwe

Police in Lilongwe have arrested five people suspected to have vandalized and stolen aluminum

Five arrested over alleged theft, vandalism of Escom assets in Lilongwe

By Peter Kanjere

Police in Lilongwe have arrested five people suspected to have vandalized and stolen aluminum power conductors in some parts of Lilongwe in February 2022.

Lilongwe Police public relations officer Hastings Chigalu said the suspects were an Escom sub-contractor Aggrey Mwakasungula, 48, from Mwakasungula Village, Traditional Authority (T/A) Kyungu in Karonga District and ex-Escom employees Charles Chaima, 35, Mukwala 2 Village, T/A Chikho (Ntchisi), Lukasi Ezekiel, 24, from Makutumula Village, T/A Chitekwere, Yotamu Kachepa, 45, Thewo Village, T/A Kabudula all in Lilongwe, and Lazalo Thembachako, 37, of Kalitsiro Village, T/A Njolomole in Ntcheu District.

He said the arrest of the suspect follows a complaint which Escom lodged to the police in February this year that its 14 poles were taken down and aluminum power conductor wire totalling 4,300 metres were vandalised at Mitundu in Thawale area.

“Following the report, Lilongwe Police detectives went flat out on the ground resulting into the arrest of four suspects who later, after interrogation, revealed the identity of the above named sub-contractor as their main colleague in the syndicate,” Chigalu said.

He said the police recovered part of the power conductor wires on the site where the said Escom sub-contractor was about to use in connecting a lodge to the power grid in Salima District.

The suspects will appear in court soon to answer vandalism and theft charges which contravene Electricity Act and Penal code. Such offences carry stiff custodial sentences of over 10 years.

Vandalism of Escom affects services delivery with the corporation losing five transformers every month and needing K2 billion every year to replace the vandalized transformers.

Escom has interventions to fight vandalism, including community awareness campaigns, the latest of which took place in most Southern Region districts last month.

The corporation, whose mandate is market and system operator, transmission and distribution, also offers rewards to those who report suspects found vandalizing and stealing the company’s assets.
 Part of the vandalized wires

Part of the vandalized wires

 Part of the vandalized wires

Part of the vandalized wires