Police in Dedza District have arrested four people for allegedly tampering with an Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) electricity meter unit at Magomero Trading Centre, Traditional Authority (T/A) Chilikumwendo, on June 22 2021.
Escom Public Relations Manager, Innocent Chitosi, confirmed that the police arrested the suspects—Emmanuel Innocent Mawindo, Lawrent Medison, Yohane Kazembe and Austine Maliko—on June 23 2021.
Mawindo, aged 45 years old, stands accused of seeking the help of his maize mill attendant Medison (28), 60-year-old electrician Kazembe and assistant electrician Maliko (33) to load electricity token units into the meter box.
Chitosi said Escom security personnel alerted the police to effect the arrests after a video clip of one of the suspects climbing an electricity pole to reach the meter connected to Mawindo’s maize mill, went viral on June 22 2021.
“It’s [meter] customer interface unit was faulty and he involved his electrician to load the units by using a keypad on a three-phase meter which was installed on an Escom pole.
The electrician, alongside three other men, used a conjoined wooden ladder to climb on the pole. While at the pole, Austin Maliko (the man who climbed on the pole) opened the meter box and loaded the units,” Chitosi said.
He said the suspects will appear in court soon to answer the charge of Disturbing and Tampering with an electricity meter, contrary to Section 45(2)(B) of the Electricity Act. The offences carry a custodial sentence.
Dedza Police deputy spokesperson, Cassim Manda, Sunday (today) said he would only be able to comment on the arrests on Monday, June 28 2021.
Mawindo is originally from Kachule Village, T/A Kachere, Dedza, Medison (Magwaza Village, T/A Kaphuka, Dedza), Kazembe (Thomasi, T/A Njolomole, Ntcheu District) and Maliko (Mthandizi Village T/A Kachere, Dedza).
Escom has since embarked on an anti-vandalism campaign in the Southern Region to sensitise members of the public to the dangers of tampering with the Corporation’s equipment and assets.