Hu! Ha! Vandalism fight boosted: President assents to the Electricity (Amendment) Act


The legal battle against theft, tampering, and vandalism of the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) Limited infrastructure has received a big push following President, Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera’s assenting to the Electricity (Amendment) Act.

The revised Act, which the State President assented to alongside 11 other bills, has fines increased for illegal connections and meter tampering to K100,000,000 whereas the maximum jail term for such offences is 10 years.

The Act covers offences on ESCOM infrastructure committed by the Corporation’s members of staff, former employees and the public

A section of the revised Act says if a licensee’s employee or former employee is involved in illegal connection or meter tampering, the penalty to be meted out is MK150,000,000 and 25 years’ imprisonment.

Section 45(4) provides a non-fineable penalty of thirty years for vandalism and possession of equipment stolen from a licensee. Fines in the previous Electricity Act were as low as K5,000,000 and jail terms of up to 10 years.

ESCOM Chief Public Relations Officer, Kitty Chingota, has since said the President’s assenting to the Act is a giant step in the fight against theft, tampering, and vandalism of the Corporation’s infrastructure. The utility company is now registering vandalism cases every day.

This now paves the way for stiffer punishments for those convicted of vandalism. We urge other stakeholders, including the Judiciary and law enforcement agencies such as the Malawi Police Service, to play their part in ensuring that those convicted of vandalising our infrastructure receive corresponding justice,” she said.

Chingota said the power utility company has lost K2 billion in the last two years alone to vandalism of infrastructure such as transformers, tower members, poles, conductors and stay wires. The amount includes replacement costs and lost revenue.

She said the President’s action demonstrates the Government’s commitment to complement ESCOM’s efforts in eradicating theft and vandalism of the Corporation’s assets to increase electricity access currently at 12 percent.

ESCOM is a government-owned limited company whose mandate is to transmit, distribute, and supply electricity to the country. The company also owns a subsidiary called Optic Fibre Communications.

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