Man arrested for tampering with Escom equipment

The Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) together with police in Blantyre on Monday busted a man at Misesa Township in Blantyre for allegedly tampering with Escom equipment.

The man, Alfonso Chasweka is said to have hired some men to move an electric pole located on his plot so that one of his houses which were constructed under a 33 kilovolts electric wire qualifies for connection.

Chasweka (left) and a CID police officer walking behind the moved pole

Following the movement of the pole, the electric wires became loose leading to sparks and short circuits in nearby houses and eventually a blackout in the neighborhood which affected about 100 houses.

“The wires touched the roof of my house and we could not use any electric appliance in our house due to a short circuit, we have been living in fear and we reported the matter to Escom officials who finally found out that it all resulted from the movement of the pole, we thank God nobody got injured or lost a life in the three weeks we have been experiencing this,” said one of the residents Alice Banda.   

However, Chasweka denied the allegation that he connived with some people to move the pole arguing that it was Escom officials that suggested that they move the pole for proper stability.

“How do you expect an ordinary person like me to begin to move the whole Escom pole? They came to me asking for a different place for the pole saying the place where it was before was saturated with water and it was affecting the stability of the pole, I had no idea what they were up to, I just allocated a different place for the pole inside my fence,” said Chasweka expressing ignorance on the challenges his neighbours were facing.

However, without ruling out a possibility that some Escom officials or contractors who deal in electricity were involved in the deal, Escom public relations manager Innocent Chitosi said they will leave it to police to investigate.

He expressed worry over development saying it has added unexpected costs to Escom as it has to erect other electricity poles to raise the wires and stop the sparks.

“It is really a worrisome development, for lives of people were put in danger considering that the line that was tampered with is very powerful. However, we have left the issue in the hands of the police for investigations,” he said.  

When found guilty, Chasweka will answer charges of tampering with electrical equipment.

According to Chitosi, the 33KV line supplies electricity in the three townships of Misesa, Chigumula and Manje.

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