The Lilongwe Senior Resident Magistrate Court has convicted and fined two people for stealing water through illegal connections.
The convicts, Stephano Kambale and Billy Matchado were arrested in February this year along three others Hanna Sitima, Helmes Chiwanda and Moses Jambo in a joint operation by the Lilongwe Water Board and Malawi Police Service.
Kambale aged 33 and 36-year-old Matchado were charged with Fraudulent Appropriation of Water contrary to Section 298 (A) of the Penal Code.
The court on Friday 9th March, 2018 convicted and fined Kambale K100,000 in default to serve 12 month imprisonment with hard labour (IHL), he paid the fine. While Matchado was on Thursday 15th March fined K90,000 in default to serve 15 months IHL. He failed to pay the fine and he is currently serving the sentence at Maula Prison.
Matchado, who once worked for LWB as plumbing novice, has been operating an illegal water connection ring in Area 50. According to information presented in court, this is not the first time for him to be involved in such offense; he was once arrested and fined on similar charges.
“As the Board, we will not relent until those who are perpetuating such malpractice are apprehended and are prosecuted by the court of law,” said Maurice Nkawihe, LWB assistant Public Relations Officer.
“We are losing a lot of money due to illegal connections; this is why we have decided to handle all illegal connections incident as criminal offenses; we are working hand in hand with Malawi Police to ensure all perpetrators face the arm of law.”
Billy Matchado and Stephano Kambale were arrested on 16th and 20th February, 2018 respectively.
Recently, the Lilongwe Water Board jointly with Police apprehended three people for allegedly having illegal water supply connections on their plots.
The three who have since been formally charged by Police are: Clapton Munthali of Area 24, Catherine Mnkhuntha of Area 46 (Nchinsapo), and Josephin Mwale of Area 8 (Mchesi).
They are expected to appear in court soon to answer to illegal water connection related charges.
According to information, it is not first timeJosephin Mwale (who was arrested on 13thMarch, 2018) to be involved in illegal water connection. She was twice penalized by the Board for connecting water supply to her eight houses in Mchesi illegally.
LWB and Police have intensified a crackdown campaign on those involved in illegal water connections. The Board is facing an increase of illegal water connection cases within its supply area, losing about K120 million every month to the malpractice.
Between October 2017 and February 2018, LWB registered 104 cases of illegal connections, 54 of them were confirmed cases. About 38 cases were charged and fined amounting to K226,359,566.16. A total of 77,439.00m³ is estimated to have been lost due to the malpractice. Five of the cases were commercial customers, two were institutional and 47 were residential customers.
Meanwhile, LWB is calling well wishers to help with information that will lead to the arrest of those involved in illegal water connections. Those who will provide correct information shall be rewarded a minimum of K300,000.
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