The Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) Limited is dismayed to note that some individuals and organisations continue to unlawfully acquire property that belongs to the corporation.

In the latest incident, Police in Kasungu have arrested Mr Julius Kapelemela, an electrical contractor for being found in possession of electrical poles suspected to have been stolen from an ESCOM site at Liwonde.

ESCOM investigators received a tip-off from members of the public that 30 poles that were stolen at Liwonde, Machinga District, were being used to construct an electric line at Central Poultry (CP Foods) farms in Kasungu.

The investigators inspected the site and identified 11 poles which were clearly marked as belonging to ESCOM and were imported from Zimbabwe. Another set of poles were also discovered at the site but had their marks removed. ESCOM is still ascertaining the identity of those poles.

Mr Kapelemela told the investigators that he bought the ESCOM poles from an ESCOM employee who is currently on the run.

In a related development, Police at Kanengo are keeping in custody Phillip Joseph Lipulo for impersonating an ESCOM employee and attempting to extort money from an ESCOM customer (name withheld).

ESCOM investigators received a tip-off that Lipulo was demanding K60,000 from a customer to install an electric meter at the customer’s house. The customer gave him K20,000 and promised to pay him the balance within an hour. .

The customer then alerted ESCOM investigators who, together with police officers, rushed to the scene and arrested the suspect.

Upon interrogation, Lipulo alleged that he works for Julius Electrical Contractors and got the materials from an ESCOM installation in Area 5 within Lilongwe City. His accomplice is still on the run.

ESCOM is worried with the rising cases of theft of its materials. The theft of the 30 imported poles deprived other bonafide customers an opportunity to be supplied with electricity, making ESCOM look incompetent and disorganised in the eyes of applicants for new electricity connections. This also means that ESCOM was denied an opportunity to make revenue which would have enabled it to serve its customers better.

ESCOM sincerely appreciates the support and cooperation it is receiving from its customers and the general public which helps the corporation to bust such criminal syndicates.