By Peter Kanjere
Five people, including an ESCOM temporary security guard, have been arrested for allegedly attempting to steal transformer oil at the corporation’s Chichiri Power Station in Blantyre on the evening of Tuesday October 11 2022
Blantyre Police spokesperson Deputy Public Relations Officer Aubrey Singanyama confirmed the arrest of the 25-year-old temporary watchman Chinsisi Zingwangwa alongside John Phiri, Jackson Harry, Daniel Kumzinda and James Mgeni.
Singanyama said Phiri (aged 29), Harry (38), Kumzinda (37) and Mgeni 41) allegedly sneaked into the station’s premises with an intention of stealing oil.
“The four suspects managed to hide at a dark place within the premises while carrying eight jerry cans of 20-litre capacity each, a siphoning pipe and knives. Two Escom security guards who were conducting patrols around the premises, came across the suspects in hiding and they immediately apprehended them,” he said.
The four suspects are reported to have, during interrogation, implicated Zingwangwa as being their accomplice in the botched up mission
Singanyama said the suspects have been remanded pending court trial to answer charges of theft and criminal trespass
Phiri hails originally from Bondi Village, Traditional Authority (T/A) Mabuka in Mulanje District, Harry (Chiwayu Village, T/A Chigaru in Blantyre District), Kumzinda (Kamzati Village, T/A Kachindamito in Dedza District), Mgeni (Makata Village, T/A Kapeni, Blantyre) and Zingwangwa (Zingwangwa Village, T/A Kapeni, Blantyre).
“During the same night, it was discovered that an outdoor unit of Air-conditioner worth K1,7000,000 was missing from the premises,” Singanyama said.
ESCOM Regional Manager (South) Gilbert Chodzadza has since condemned the malpractice, saying even ESCOM temporary employees have an obligation to protect the corporation’s assets.
He said temporary employees who connive with criminals may eventually discourage employers such as ESCOM from hiring temporary workers in fear of such misconduct.
Recently, ESCOM conducted internal sensitization meetings to all staff urging them to be vigilant and guard against vandalism or theft of the corporation’s property.
Further, ESCOM warned staff against indulging in theft or vandalism of ESCOM infrastructure adding that the corporation will not shield anyone but hand them to police for the law to take course.
ESCOM held the meetings as a prelude to an anti-vandalism campaign which took place in some districts of the Southern Region such as Mangochi, Ntcheu, Chiradzulu, Mulanje, Phalombe and Chikwawa.
Similar engagements have since been held in the Northern and Central regions.
STAND ACCUSED—The suspects with the jerry cans