Zomba Senior Resident Magistrate’s Court has ordered a 60 year old man to pay a fine of K500, 000.00 for an illegal electricity connection which is contrary to section 45 (2) (a) of the Electricity Act.
The court heard through State Prosecutor, Counsel Lous Makiyi, that the accused, John Mkumbira, on January 26, 2017 at Chinamwali township in Zomba illegally connected electricity to some of his houses which caused the death of a two year old boy.
he said the accused has five houses at his compound and Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) only installed electricity in one of his houses but Mkumbira, without the knowledge of ESCOM, went ahead to illegally extended the electricity from the single house to four other houses using cables which he buried under the ground.
The illegal connections later saw the son to one of the tenants accidentally touch one of the underground cables which was exposed and got electrocuted.
He was pronounced death upon arrival at Zomba Central Hospital.
The state first charged the accused with manslaughter but after a preliminary enquiry, the charge was changed to illegal connection of electricity to which the accused pleaded guilty.
In his submission before the judgment, the state prosecutor told the court that despite the convict being a first offender, he deserves a stiff sentence and that being a fine of not less than K500, 000.00 in line with section 46 of the Electricity Act.
In mitigation, Mkumbira asked the court not to impose a stiff sentence on him considering that he is married and has four children who depend on him.
He went on to inform the court that his earnings from the rentals are approximately K 60, 000.00 per month hence the need to consider him if the court imposes a fine.
Passing the sentence, Senior Resident Magistrate, Wyson Chamdimba Nkhata, said the offence committed by the defendant is a serious one as evidenced by the maximum penalty provided under section 46 of the Electricity Act.
He said illegal electricity connections are dangerous and often result in serious injury or even death as the case at hand.
Nkhata slapped Mkumbira with a K500, 000.00 fine or in default serve 12 months in prison with hard labour.
The fine will be channeled to the next of kin as compensation and Mkumbira will pay it in installments.
The first installment of K250, 000.00 has already been paid with the balance to be paid in monthly installments of K25, 000.00.
Mkumbira comes from Senzani Village in the area of Traditional Authority Phambala in Ntcheu.
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