The First Grade Magistrate Court at Lumbadzi has convicted and ordered a 38- year-old man to pay a fine of K2.2 million or in default to serve a sentence of 24 months imprisonment with hard labour after finding him guilty of illegal ESCOM electricity connections.
The man, identified as Davie Kade, who hails from Mtimaukanena Village, TA Mkukula, in Dowa District was arrested in November 2018 after he had illegally connected ESCOM supply without a meter to a total of 27 houses at Lumbadzi Trading Centre.
The Court heard through Claswell Kayinga of ESCOM Security in Lilongwe, that the suspect had tapped ESCOM supply from one of the service poles within the area to his house and had distributed it to 26 houses within his neighborhood by using underground cables.
According to Kayinga, the occupants of the houses were paying the convict for the supply.
Following the discovery and subsequent arrest, ESCOM disconnected the supply.
Before passing the sentence, First Grade Magistrate Cecilia Onsewa said the convict had contravened section 46 of the Electricity Act, which prohibits anyone form tempering with ESCOM equipment. The Magistrate pointed out that the conduct of the convict was not only a serious breach of the law, but also a threat to life and property.
She, therefore, said the convict needed a serious penalty that would give him a lesson and deter others from the practice.
In mitigation, the convict asked for mercy saying that he has huge family obligations
He, however, paid the fine.
ESCOM Public Relations Manager, Innocent Chitosi, hailed both the State Prosecutor and the Court for a successful disposal of the case.
"We are satisfied with the sentence and we believe it is sending strong signals to would be offenders. We shall step up our efforts to deal with this criminal activity," Chitosi said.
GETTING TO THE ROOT- AN ESCOM EMPLOYEE DISCONNECTING AN ILLEGALLY SUPPLIED BUILDING IN BLANTYRE. Picture ESCOM archives