Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) power lines vandals have been given long jail terms by Neno magistrates court after prosecutors said the power utility will spend over K600 million for the vandalised main central region line.
Neno First Grade Magistrate Daniel Dzowera then sentenced Wonderford Benard to six years imprisonment with hard laour, Oscar Benard to five years imprisonment with hard labour and Maxwell Phiri to four years imprisonment.
The three convicts were found with the vandalised Escom items and they all pleaded guilty to the charges thereby fast tracking the case.
Escom officials said it would take a lot of money and a lot of time to restore the important power line that supplies electricity from Nkula Falls to Ntcheu, Dedza and Lilongwe among other districts.
The vandalism of the power line has worsened the power blackout situation as most households now get less than four hours of power on average each day.
Malawi is currently facing prolonged power rationing due to low water levels in the Shire River, where over 90 percent of the country’s hydroelectric power is generated.
According to Escom senior transmission manager Alfred Overtone Kaponda, the vandalism at Mwengesa Village, Traditional Authority (T/A) Symon in Neno District worsened power supply.
Kaponda said the damage will cost Escom K633 million (about $1million) to rectify.
He said: “Each tower costs K12 million which could cost Escom about K144 million to buy new towers since we cannot reuse these ones. But the whole reconstruction process could cost us K633 million. But we are now installing temporary poles which will cost K30 million to bring back electricity within the next four to six days.”