By Peter Kanjere, ESCOM PRO
A man is battling for his life at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital after suffering from burn wounds while reportedly stealing an underground Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) cable at Nkula Power Station in Blantyre on Saturday last week.
Chileka Police Station spokesperson Jona Philipo says 22-year-old Stanford Sabisitoni suffered the burn wounds while digging the cable alongside four other suspects who are at large.
They were digging up a cable which connected a transformer to a water intake at Nkula Power Station on Saturday 9 April, 2022 at night. They did not know that the cable they wanted was live. So it exploded and they were all injured and went away,” Philipo said.
“Police has only managed to get one suspect who is currently getting treatment at Queens [Elizabeth Central Hospital] for burns. But the other four are currently at large.”
Sabisitoni hails from Nseule area, Traditional Authority Kuntaja whereas the identities of the other suspects remain sketchy.
Last week, police in Lilongwe arrested 36-year-old Solomoni Tomasi and 27-year-old Lightwell Nyasulu on suspicion that they stole copper cables for ESCOM at areas around Full Gospel Church and Bunda Roadblock. The suspects will appear in court to answer charges of theft and vandalism which are contrary to the sections 45 (2) (d) of the Electricity Act and 278 of the Penal Code whose violation can lead to a jail term of up 10 years. Tomasi hails from Munkhonje Village, Traditional Authority (T/A) Kabudula in Lilongwe whereas Nyasulu is originally from Chisoti Village, T/A Mwamlowe in Rumphi District.
Vandalism and theft of cables, towers, earthmats and transformers are estimated to have cost Escom K1 billion in the 2019/2020 financial year thereby comprising service delivery and leading to the loss of revenue. Last week, ESCOM released a statement saying the company loses five transformers every week to vandalism; hence needs to buy 395 transformers to restore power supply to 20,000 households countrywide.
“We urge community members to play a role in safeguarding ESCOM assets by reporting suspicious persons found tampering with transformers and other assets to the law enforcers,” the statement reads.