Three arrested over ESCOM transformer oil theft

By Peter Kanjere, ESCOM PRO

Blantyre Police have arrested three suspects in connection with recent cases of theft of Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) Limited transformer oil in Blantyre. 

Blantyre Police Station spokesperson, Augustus Nkhwazi confirmed the arrest on Tuesday of Foster Chalera and Mission Nkonda for allegedly syphoning fuel from ESCOM Customs Road sub-station on the night of May 28. 

Blantyre Police Station publicist,
Augustus Nkhwazi

Another suspect was also arrested over a similar incident.

 “They have since been charged with theft and case file has been referred to the Regional Prosecutions Officer at the Southern Region Police who will proceed with the matter in court,” Nkhwazi said.

Kamu Security Services officers caught Chalera, a former ESCOM temporary security guard, and Nkonda, a Kamu watchman who was on duty at the substation, and handed them over to the Police. 

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The suspects were found in possession of three jerrycans full of transformer oil and two empty jerrycans — each 25 litres — while another suspect called Chisomo fled from the scene.

Eventually, Nkonda, 27, implicated a workmate Alex Chitambula who also was arrested in connection with theft of oil at the same substation on March 12. 

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Chalera, 38, is originally from Khudu Village, T/A Somba, Blantyre, whereas Nkonda is originally from Lameki Village, T/A Kilupula, Karonga District and Chitambula, 38, Wangombe Village, T/A Chimaliro, Thyolo.

In a related incident, police foiled an attempted theft of underground copper cables at Katoto workshop in Mzuzu in the early hours of May 29.

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ESCOM had hired police officers after being tipped about a gang that was planning to steal the cables and rounded up some of the suspects— Martin Beza and Victor Banda—whereas four others escaped.

The suspects had arrived at the workshop on a taxi and loaded it with the cables. 

Banda is an ex-ESCOM temporary security guard. Police are still investigating the incident.