Scandal-hit Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) has been urged to improve its internal management systems after its board admitted blatant abuse of procurement procedures, theft of 3.8 million litters of diesel valued at K1.9 billion and now reports of losing K1 billion monthly through illegal connections facilitated by its employees nationwide.
In an editorial comment on the lead story it carried on Monday, The Nation newspaper, said the revelations about Escom losing K1 billion monthly to illegal connections is disappointing as it is “a huge loss ad electricity consumers have every reason to be worried as, at the end of the day, such losses are passed on to them.”
Escom director of administration and human resources Dafter Namandwa made the revelation on Saturday during a Fourth Quadrennial Meeting at Linde Motel in Mponela, Dowa, where the power utility ushered in new office bearers for the Escom Staff Union (ESU).
Namandwa said the illegal connections are paralysing Escom’s revenue generation; a development he warned could lead to the company not giving benefits to its employees due to losses.
“We are losing billions through illegal connections every month. Most of the illegal connections are facilitated by our own members of staff. So, I was appealing to them that they should stop facilitating illegal connections because at the end of the day, they are actually stealing our revenue.
“Employees want increments and loans. So, they will not be able to get those increments and loans if they are facilitating illegal connections because they are draining the resources for the company,” he said in quotes reported by the paper.
And in the editorial comment, the paper commended Escom for busting some of the illegal electricity connection syndicates but urged the courts to mete out stiffer penalties to those found guilty of perpetrating the malpractice.
“It is tantamount to economic sabotage,” the paper said.
Consumers Association of Malawi (Cama) executive director John Kapito also feared the development may have an implication on the consumers as they are forced to pay high tariffs when some people are getting free power because of illegal connections.
Nonetheless, the paper pointed out that the cases of illegal connections also speak volumes about Escom’s internal management systems.
“From the look of things, it is clear that the rot stems from within Escom – either by its staff or former employees. For all we know, there are very few people in this country with the skill to tap power from the national grid and connect homes or industry,” reads the editorial.
It concluded that unless Escom improves its internal systems as well as efficiency in connecting customers, the fraud and corruption robbing the parastatal off potential revenue will continue to exist.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :